How Does Apple Books Work?

By Tim Chesonis •  Updated: 04/25/20 •  8 min read

Not being very familiar with Apple Books, I decided to give it a try and see how it compares to the Kindle app. Do I need to download and install Apple Books? How does it work, and is it better than the Kindle app?

Apple Books is an application preinstalled on your Apple device, where you can access any and all of your books and audiobooks that have been purchased from the Apple Store reside. Additionally, Apple Books allows you to purchase and share both books and audiobooks with your family members.

Within in a few minutes, I will show you how you can get the most out of Apple Books, by providing an overview of the desktop application. Additionally, I will show you how to buy, share, and delete a book or audiobook from your Apple Book library.

What is an Apple Book?

Apple Books, (formally iBooks), is your one stop shop for all the books you love, and the ones you want to read. You can browse the Book Store, purchase books and even listen to audiobooks, all from within the one app, Apple Books.

You can access your entire library of hundreds, or even thousands of books, wherever you go, all from your iPhone or even your Apple Watch! Because Apple Books lets you purchase books and audiobooks from within the app, it’s like carrying an enormous book store in your pocket!

Apple Books integrates tightly with iCloud, so that you can read or listen to a book on one device and pick up where you left off on another device. Additionally, all of the books you have purchased are added to your library, which can easily be accessed from your Mac, iPad, iPhone, and even an iPod Touch. Everything you have bookmarked or highlighted in any book is instantly available on all of your Apple devices. Gotta love it.

How to Use Apple Books

Navigating Apple Books has become far more streamlined that it was when you had to use iTunes. Though Apple Books looks different on an iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, it is easier to use than ever before. You really can’t get lost when using the app, regardless of which platform you are using. It really is that simple to use.

In the image above, you’ll see the desktop layout of Apple Books. If you click on the LIBRARY tab at the top, on the far left, you will see options that are only available when on the LIBRARY tab. Note that all of the items listed here are specific to what you already have in your Library.

Additionally, if you would like for your books to be organized in a list view, simply click on the hamburger menu at the top left of the screen just to the right of the CLOSE, MINIMIZE, MAXIMIZE buttons. One simple click will display all of the books in your Library in a list view. It should be noted from the image to the left, that you can create a “Collection” of books and associate two or more books to that collection for quick and easy reference.

If you were to click on the BOOKSTORE tab at the top, on the far left, you will see options that are specific to the BOOKSTORE tab, as displayed in the image to the right. Here you will find Featured books, those that are topping the charts and books that have made the New York Times best selling list. If you wish to search by way of Category or Author, simply click on the respective link.

Now, if you would like to browse available Audiobooks, click on the AUDIOBOOKS tab at the top. Once you do, you will be able to choose from any of the 4 following options, as shown here to the left.

One thing that I especially like, is that when you are on the AUDIOBOOKS tab, you will only see Audiobooks. You will never have to question whether or not the books that you are browsing are actually audiobooks or not.

How to Buy Apple Books

There is another very popular app out there that lets you browse their bookstore, but refuses to let you actually purchase the book from within that bookstore (mHmm Kindle). Maybe it is just me, but I love the idea of being able to purchase a book while at the bookstore. Can you imagine wondering into a Barnes & Noble bookstore to browse their books, only to find one that you want to purchase, but when you inquire as to the price fo the book, you find that they won’t actually let you purchase the book and take it home with you? You are only allowed to look at the book covers. Apple Books allows you to both browse books, and purchase them too from within the same app! I’m Just sayin. OK, enough sarcasm. 😉

You can easily purchase a book from within the Apple Books app from your Mac, iPad, iPhone or even the iPod Touch. For our purposes, however, I’m going to show you how to do this from the desktop. Simply launch the Apple Books app, and you will see the following screen. Note the 3 tabs displayed at the top of the screen.

You can click on the BOOKSTORE or AUDIOBOOK STORE tab (as displayed below), at the top of the screen. This will allow you to browse and purchase a book or an audiobook.

After clicking on either the BOOK STORE or AUDIOBOOK STORE tabs, you can then place your cursor in the SEARCH field displayed at the top right hand side of the screen to search for a specific book, but for all books buy a given author. So, for example, if you wanted to see all audiobooks authored by John Grisham, simply enter his name in the SEARCH field and hit the enter key.

Once you find the book that you want to purchase, simply click on the price tag listed just below the thumbnail image of the audiobook. You will then be asked to confirm your purchase, and once purchased, you can then download the book.

How to Return an Apple Book

There may come a time when you or a family member inadvertently purchases a book or audiobook from the bookstore. If this does happen, you can request a refund. However, in order for the refund to take place, the bank must have completed the transaction, meaning that the funds will have to have come out of your account), which can take a couple of days. So, it is better to wait two or three days before making the refund request.

To request a refund, you must visit and complete the request from there, as this is the only way to receive a refund. You will be asked for to log in with your Apple ID and Apple ID Password, whereupon you will be able to see any recent transactions that have occurred on your account. Complete the online form to make your request, and the funds will be refunded to the account on file. Of course, as can be expected, you will loose access to the book / audiobook in question.

How to Share Apple Books

One of the great things about Apple Books, is that you can share the books that you have purchased with other people in your iCloud Family Sharing group. In fact, anybody within your iCloud Family Sharing group can share books with any other member of that group at no extra cost. To top it off, you can even share audiobooks!

Once you find the book that you would like to share, right-click on it and click SHARE > MAIL or MESSAGES. In this example, we will share the book entitled, “As a Man Thinketh“, by James Allen. Now, let’s say that you simply want to share the book via the Messages app. Once you select Messages, you will see the following screen.

The recipient will receive a text message and all they need to do is to tap on the link provided in that text message to view the book in the Apple Books app on their cell phone. Of course, once accepted, that book will be available on all of their Apple devices as well.

How to Delete Books from Apple Books

To delete a book or audiobook that you have purchased from Apple Books, simply navigate to the LIBRARY tab, and right-click on the book you have downloaded to your device and click DELETE. It will not permanently delete your purchase, but it will remove it from the device in question. Understand, however, That if the book had been downloaded to any other device, it will still remain on those devices.

Closing Thoughts

Using Apple books is very easy and it is incredibly easy on the eyes. The desktop interface is very attractive and it’s fun to navigate due to its simplicity. Using Apple Books on the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch is even more visually appealing, and offers a plethora of features making it both fun and easy to use.

Tim Chesonis

Tim has been helping people with computers needs for several years, and he loves to help people succeed. He brings a wealth of wisdom and insight from an entrepreneur's perspective and enjoys freelance writing. In fact, when he's not writing an article, you might find him binge-watching Suits or formatting his computer . . . again, just for fun. To learn more about Tim, click here.