How To Add Epub Books To Your iPad Without iTunes [iOS Tips]

iBooks iPhone

It used to be fairly simple to add e-books (of the epub format) to your iPad or iPhone via your Mac, using iTunes file sharing. You’d simply drag and drop the book into iTunes, connect your iOS device, and sync the non-iBook file via the file sharing system in iTunes, just like any other file supported by apps on your iPad

With the advent of iBooks on the Mac with OS X Mavericks, there is no longer a way to sync epub books in this way. You might be stymied on attempting to get epubs from your Mac to your iPad, but thanks to an intrepid Cult of Mac reader, we all get to learn how to do just that.

First of all, open up your email client on the Mac. You can do this with any app or webmail program. Address an email to yourself, and attach the epub file you want to open on your iPad or iPhone. Send yourself the attachment, and then go grab your iOS device.

Now, open your preferred email program on your iPad or iPhone, and open up the email you just sent yourself. Tap the attachment icon to download it to your device, and you’ll see the icon turn into an iBooks one. Tap and hold on the file and an “Open in iBooks” will pop up. Tap that, and your iPad or iPhone will open iBooks and then open the epub file you just sent.

Thanks, John R!

  • dcnittygritty

    How does one place Epub books obtained on an IOS device on the Mac? Is that possible? Is it possible to sync all books and PDFs on both Macs and IOS devices? It seems not to work for me.

  • Frank Lowney

    This is incorrect. Simply add the ePub to the iBooks app on MacOS X 10.9 and you’ll see the option to sync it with iOS devices in the iTunes app.

    • Tammy Thibault Degarie

      where does it say sync

  • trex67

    This is incorrect. Simply add the ePub to the iBooks app on MacOS X 10.9 and you’ll see the option to sync it with iOS devices in the iTunes app.

    I was just in the process of saying this. I double-checked and sure enough, no problem.

    Not to say iBooks for Mac is without issues – it’s very buggy, slow, and lacks many of the features it had in iTunes. No way to edit metadata? Ridiculous. Apple should fix this.

  • RealSdotbailey

    This is incorrect. Simply add the ePub to the iBooks app on MacOS X 10.9 and you’ll see the option to sync it with iOS devices in the iTunes app.

    Where…? I was looking for this the other night and couldn’t even figure it out. Sync in iBooks? Can’t find it, please help the rest of the world.

    • Beepa

      I just had the same issue as you after following everyone’s advice on this thread. U literally have to connect the ipad to the mac with a cable, and drag your book from “books’ in itunes, onto the ipad (in the left pane). I have a first gen ipad and it worked.

  • ItsNgataMe

    I just keep all my epub files in dropbox and open them in ibooks that way

  • Tammy Thibault Degarie

    Thank you, so much this was driving me crazy. I couldn’t find any posts that would help with this.. Why do they always feel the need to change things for god sakes improve but don’t change completely so we can do what we normally do.. so frustrating.

  • http://www.loeillot.com nloeillot

    You explain us how to send a file by e-mail here ! WTF !

  • http://www.tjerja.com/ Tjerja Geerts

    I use a programme called goodreader, with a dropbox combination. This way, my ebooks are in one place, and I can access them on my iphone/ipad/laptop everywhere I want. Hope this helps.

  • Mario

    Hi, I have been trying to transfer epub books bought for a Sony ereader to iBooks. When I email and try to open them in iBooks I get the following message. ” Cannot Open Book. It is formatted incorrectly, or is not a format that iBooks can open”

  • Ramone

    Another way to add books to an iDevice is to create a folder in Dropbox (or cloud sharing service of your choice)…add books…click to open…and choose iBooks when prompted. A good way to add books to the iOS Kindle app, too.

  • Suyn

    Hm, emailing the books to yourself? This seems to me as a workaround rather than a real method to add books to iPad. I’d simply use iTunes or CopyTrans Apps.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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