iBooks is Apple’s online bookstore in iTunes. Although it doesn’t carry print, it does offer over two million ebooks and audio books.
It’s not often that this is said about an Apple product: the prices are low. That’s right – iBooks’ prices were at the lower end of the books we compared. In addition, iBooks carried each of the ten New York Times bestselling-books we used in our review process, both in ebook and audio versions.
If your wallet is light, iBooks also offers a large section of free ebooks as well as free samples of many of the books that it sells – you can read before you buy to make sure you’ll enjoy your purchase. Also, former bestsellers are priced at $3.99 or less – which is a fantastic deal.
The iBooks app supports book updates, meaning that if a book you’ve purchased is republished with new or additional content, the app will let you know so you can download the updated version for free. This feature is especially useful for students, as textbooks are often updated every year or within every few years. Another helpful tool for students is iBooks’ Study Cards, which help you memorize the material you’ve highlighted, notes you’ve made while reading and glossary terms from the book.
iBooks was the only online bookstore we reviewed which enables you to share on social media through its app: you can share quotes or notes about what you’re reading on Facebook or Twitter.
As with most Apple products, many of the books purchased on iBooks aren’t compatible with other ereader devices or apps – they’ll work best if you read them on an Apple device. If you want to read a Kindle or NOOK ebook, you can do so on an Apple device – you’ll just need to download the corresponding Kindle or NOOK app. You can, however, upload PDF and ePub files to read on iBooks.
Another drawback of iBooks is that you can’t shop or read in your browser – you’ll need to download the iTunes or iBooks app on whatever device you’re using. Other online bookstores with ereader options, such as Scribd, offer the option to read in a browser – this is more convenient, as it allows you to quickly and easily read on any device, especially older computers.
In addition, iBooks doesn’t offer an Advanced Search feature. This is crucial given how many similar titles and authors there are, so you could have a hard time locating obscure books or be forced to sift through a lot of search results.
You’ll also face a challenge if you’d like to process a refund on iBooks. It states that all sales are final, but sometimes exceptions are made if there was an issue with download speed or the quality of the book. To ask for a refund, you’ll need to visit your purchase history, click “Report a Problem” for the item you’d like to receive a refund for and then fill out the necessary information. iBooks will then respond to your request within a few days and let you know if you’re eligible to receive a refund.