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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sideloading EPUBs into iBooks

Sideloading: the process of transferring data between two local devices, in particular between a computer and a mobile device [such as an eReader].
— Wikipedia

While a backlit LCD isn’t the best kind of screen for reading eBooks, Apple does make the experience as pleasant as possible with its iBooks app. On an iPhone, it hyphenates long words, to avoid making the margins too horrible. While Stanza is growing ever more outdated, there’s still a need to load EPUBs into a reader, just to make sure they’re right if nothing else. And sometimes, you might buy an eBook from Smashwords that you still want to read on your iOS device.

Fortunately, the process is straightforward.

1. Find your eBook.
When you download an eBook, whether on MacOS or that Microsoft thing, it usually ends up in your Downloads folder. Leave the folder window open on your desktop.

2. Open iTunes.
If you’re like me, you already have iTunes open in the “mini player” view. You need to open the expanded view. If you’re using the latest version, display the sidebar and look for “Books.” Select it to see the books in your library.

3. Drag and drop.
Arrange your Downloads window, and the iTunes window, so you can see them both. Drag your book file into a blank area of the iBooks window. It may take a few seconds for the new book to show up in your library, be patient.

4. Sync and go.
Plug your device in and let it sync. It will automatically copy your new eBooks over.

You can actually do the first three steps in less time than it takes to read this blog post… although the sync process will take a while longer.


  1. Doesn't sound like an eReader I'd want. Stare at enough backlit screens for work and such...

  2. Now that I have a phone with a standard OS, I've been doing a lot more e-reading. The backlit screen hardly bothers me at all, but my spine is a lot happier.

  3. I know, John. I much prefer an eInk Kindle for reading, but a lot of younger folks read on tablets and even their phones. One of my friends reads on an iPhone. I've done it, too, when I didn't have the Kindle and wanted to read.

    Katherine, a lot of eReader apps let you adjust the screen lighting, too. Very helpful!


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