The iPad is coming. And if you’re in the USA (or have a US iTunes account…) you can grab yourself a copy of the free iBooks app from Apple. This app is an eBook reader + store designed especially for the iPad by… well… the creators of the iPad. So what can you do in preparation? Read on to find out:
Well, if you updated to iTunes 9.1 last night, you’ll have noticed that “Audiobooks” has been replaced with “Books” – Click on that tab.
You can see there’s space in this menu for, not only eBooks, but also Audiobooks (if you happen to have any) – However, Audiobooks are synced onto the iPod app, not the iBooks app. The “rules” of what books you can add to your library are simple:
- They MUST NOT be DRM, or have any lock on them, or else iTunes won’t be able to add them by law.
- They MUST be in ePub format. .txt, .pdf and .doc aren’t accepted by iTunes – try dragging and dropping one in, you’ll see.
So you COULD wait until Saturday and buy books from the iBooks store on your iPad, if you don’t already have any books… Or you could go to Google and type “Free eBooks” and see what comes up…
The Gutenburg Project has been running for a while. It’s a project which is trying to accumulate all the popular published books whose copyrights have run out – Making them “free” to download by law. Head over to Gutenburg.org to take a look at the “Top 100″ or search for some old books and see what comes up. The #1 book at the moment is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. On this site, you can also download in ePub format! Although they state that it is “beta” at the moment – But the ones I’ve downloaded so far have been spot on!
Now what if you already have eBooks, but they’re in .pdf, .html or .txt?! There’s a free app out there called Calibre which, not only converts to ePub from mostly ANY format, but also syncs to your Kindle or Stanza app on your iPhone if you have either. I’ll be using it primarily for converting though… Here’s what it looks like:
It’s really simple to use too. You just drag in the .pdf book and click “Convert eBooks” – Add all the “settings” like title, cover, description, author and make sure the Output is ePub and then click “Go!” and wait. (Click here for the download links)
Once you’ve got all your eBooks ready, head back over to iTunes and drag and drop them into the Books tab.
As you can see here, iTunes automatically takes all the books you’ve got, and their covers, authors and titles and alphabetises them for you. I got the artwork for the Sherlock Holmes book in the top corner by right-clicking and “Get Album Artwork” and it appeared – which means that Apple already has the Artwork available on iTunes?!
Any books without artwork can be edited (right click and “Get Info”) and then drag in the album artwork – even directly from Google if you can’t be bothered to save all the front covers to your hard drive:
And that’s it! You can set up a quick collection in about an hour and they’ll automagically sync to your iPad as soon as you plug it in! Any questions? Ask away in this thread.