Getting ePub output into iBooks on iPhone/iPad

Posted on: August 27th, 2010 2 Comments

In a recent Study Hall, someone asked how one can deploy the ePub output generated by ePublisher to an iPad.  This path has been a little unclear to me and so I promised to research and blog what I found.

In brief, here is the excerpt from Apple’s FAQ regarding this use case:

Can I download books from other websites?

Yes, you can download freely available ePub files on your Mac or PC. Using iTunes 9.2 or later, add them to your iTunes library choosing File > Add to Library, or drag the ePub file to the Books library on your computer. To read these books, simply sync them to your device.

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2 Responses

  1. Dave Truman says:

    I think if you are browsing on your mobile device and then click a link to an .epub file, it will download it into your default eBook reader. Saves messing with iTunes at least. The downside is if you have multiple readers (ie iBooks, Stanza, Kindle, etc) you can’t pick which it downloads into. I’ve seen URLs prefaced by “stanza://” that forced .epub files to go into Stanza, but that’s not ideal either.

    What about going through the iTunes Store, if that’s possible, similar to podcasts or apps? Presumably Apple needs to approve it, and then you’d have a friendly interface to finding, optionally buying, and installing your eBook, from either a PC or right on the device.

  2. jwiles says:

    I haven’t had success downloading *.epub files with iPhone Safari, but that could be a problem with the Content-Type header that my test server is returning. I talked to Alan Porter about it recently and he had recommended an approach similar to what you describe here.

    It’s a hassle to get your eBook listed in the iBooks store, involving serving your own content with strict bandwidth requirements. Following is a link to the iTunes application process: (

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