How To Use iBooks on OS X Mavericks

How To Use iBooks on OS X Mavericks

The debut of OS X Mavericks brought Apple’s e-book reader, iBooks, to the Mac platform. iBooks for OS X allows you to read books, textbooks, graphic novels and more previously only available on iOS devices.


Setting Up iBooks and Syncing it With Your iBooks Library

When you launch iBooks on your Mac for the first time, you’ll be required to login using the same Apple account you have previously used to purchase e-books on your iOS device. After your login is complete, iBooks will check for any previous purchases, and will sync those purchases to your computer.


Now, any new purchases you may make on any devices attached to your Apple ID  can be downloaded to your Mac by going to “Store” -> “Check for Available Downloads.” iBooks can also be set to automatically download any new purchases by going to the “Store” tab in iBooks’ Preferences menu, and clicking the box next to: “Download new purchases automatically.”

Exercising Parental Controls

On the “Parental” tab in iBooks Preferences, you can completely disable the iBooks Store, or restrict books with explicit content. This is handy, as most parents don’t want little Bobby or Susie to get a jump start on puberty by accidentally reading “50 Shades of Grey’s Anatomy.”


Turning Pages and Jumping to the Next Chapter

You can turn pages in iBooks either by using the left and right arrow keys on your Mac’s keyboard, by swiping left or right on your Mac’s trackpad, or by hovering your mouse pointer over either edge of the page and clicking the arrow that appears.

Jumping to the next chapter is accomplished by hitting “Command + Shift + Right Arrow”. You can jump to the previous chapter using the “Command + Shift + Left Arrow” combination of keys.

Highlighting Content and Making Notes

While reading a book in iBooks, you can highlight text, or add notes for later reference, To highlight a section of text or add a note, simply drag your cursor across a section of text. After the desired text is highlighted, you’ll see a menu pop-up that will allow you to highlight the text in one of five colors, underline the selected text, add a note to the text, or copy the text.


If you want to make a note, follow the above steps, and then select “Add Note” from the menu. A small window resembling a post-it note will appear, and you can enter any notes you like about the highlighted content. To access the note, just click the small box alongside the highlighted text. The note will pop-up for you to read or edit.

You can view all of the highlighted sections and notes you have made in an ebook, by clicking the right-most button in the upper left-hand corner of the iBooks window, (it will look like a post-it note), or just the the Command + 4 hotkey combo. All of your notes and highlights will appear in a panel on the left side of your display. Click the various sections in that panel to jump to your highlighted or note-filled areas of your book.

If you need to delete a highlighted area, and/or its notes, just click the highlighted area, and then select “Remove Note,” or “Remove Highlight and Note” from the pop-up.

Using iBooks Text-to-Speech Function

Apple’s iBooks can read the text of an ebook to a user with a few simple steps.

Launch iBooks, and load the book you would like to have read to you. Now, go to the spot in the book where you would like iBooks to begin reading to you.

Now, go to “Edit” -> “Speech” -> “Start Speaking” in the iBooks Menu.

Your Mac will begin reading your ebook to you, continuing until you tell it to stop. Note: While your Mac will happily read the whole book to you, it won’t turn the pages, you’ll need to do that manually.

To stop the narration, go to “Edit” -> “Speech” -> “Stop Speaking” in the iBooks Menu.

You can also highlight text and then select “Start Speaking” from the “More” menu. Your Mac will then speak the highlighted text.



The iBooks app in OS X Mavericks gives users another great way to read or listen to their ebooks. Very handy if you don’t own an iOS device, or if you don’t have yours handy at the moment.