Get Your Current eBook Library On Your iBooks Bookshelf with Calibre

Get Your Current eBook Library On Your iBooks Bookshelf with Calibre | 40Tech

One of the most annoying things about eReader apps on the iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad (that have their own dedicated stores) is their proprietary nature — namely, they generally only read books you have purchased from their respective companies, regardless of the library you already own. This can be a pain, as it leads to both multiple eReader apps on your phone and several books inevitably left twisting in the proverbial wind. You can use Stanza for iPhone to solve this problem, but why not put all of your books on that pretty iBooks bookshelf? As of version 0.7, Calibre lets you do just that!

Calibre is a fantastic tool for PC and Mac that handles eBook management. It has all the features you could ever want or need, including tagging; organization by genre, series and more; turning your computer into an eBook server; single and bulk conversion from and to multiple eBook formats; and now a handy button that sends eBooks directly to the Books section of your iTunes library — and, of course, to your device.

It’s a fairly simple process, in essence requiring only that you connect your device to your computer and make sure the book you are transferring is in EPUB fromat (which can be set as the Preferred Output Format in Preferences). You just select the book from your library that you want to send to your device, and click the big Send to Device button on the top menu. You can also right-click and do the same. If the book is not in EPUB, you will be asked if you want Calibre to automatically convert it for you. Click OK and wait a moment. The book will convert and send itself to your device, via iTunes, appearing on your iBooks bookshelf. If you are an iPad user, go into the Page Setup area of the Conversion settings in Preferences, and select iPad as your Output Profile.

Calibre eBook Manager | 40Tech

iTunes Books Library | 40Tech

Send Your eBooks to iBooks with Calibre | 40Tech

You can also connect directly to iTunes, without the using your device, to move your library to the Books area of iTunes, for later syncing. You can find the Connect to iTunes option by right clicking on a book or clicking the menu arrow beside the Send to Device button on the top menu of Calibre. I find connecting the device and sending the books directly to it and iTunes at the same time to be more effective, however.

Send more than one book at a time by holding down shift and selecting multiple titles before you make the transfer.

If you have trouble connecting or just want to make sure you have all of the settings tweaked just right, GRiker (the fellow who created the Apple Device Interface plugin for Calibre) has put together a step by step tutorial to help you make that happen:

GRiker’s Step By Step Tutorial for Connecting Calibre to iTunes

What do you think of Calibre’s ability to convert and send books right to your iBooks bookshelf? Will it make you more likely to use iBooks as your  main eReader?

Bobby Travis

Bobby isn't 40-something, but is a strong supporter of the Grown-up Geek kind. He's a loving husband and father first, but is also a freelance writer, productivity nut, operatically trained singer, and (not-so) closet geek. Check out his random thoughts, wackiness, and Instagram pics on Tumblr, Twitter, or Google+-- or just head over to


  1. Already used ibooks for my first read book on the iPad after using Calibre & very happy so far.


  2. Pingback: Access Your eBook Library On Multiple Computers with Calibre and Dropbox | 40Tech

  3. awesome feature… only sometimes i find that when calibre creates the epub the paras don’t format right.

    also love how calibre will download news then email it to you.

  4. Sounds simple. Didn’t ask if i wanted to change formats, so I went and changed output preference on one book to try it out. That book made to iTunes on the pc, but I can’t find it on my iPad. Not in iTunes, and not on iBooks shelf of my iPad. Any clue as to what I am doing wrong?

    • I’m not sure. Best I can say is to try sending from Calibre again, or check the format and see if it works with your reader. If you are transferring to iBooks, ePub or PDF work.

      If all else fails, add the book to Dropbox or even email it to yourself as an attachment. Then you can choose the option to Open in iBooks and it will transfer it in. If that doesn’t work, there is definitely something wrong with the file.

  5. Ps. The iPad is connEcted to the pc

  6. I can’t seem to find instructions on how to get my existing epub books that exists on my iPad (and iTunes) into the calibre library. I keep getting a window that says copy the files to the desktop, but I also see “do not copy books directly to the calibre library” Please help

    • If you copy your books to a folder on your hard drive, and then use the add books feature in Calibre (you should be able to point at the folder and add all of them that way, I think), that should do it. I think.

  7. I am not sure if I’m doing something stupid but the Send to device option doesn’t appear on my calibre. I’m using a mac and it seems complicated to get it working. Thanks for all the info though

  8. Cqlibre 2.46 seems to be vastly different, though…?

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