How to Get Books for the iPad mini

Your iPad mini includes an e-reader, but you need books in order to use it. There are many options for downloading books to your iPad: the iBooks Store, buying books from Kindle or NOOK apps, or finding free books.

How to buy a book for your iPad mini from iBooks Store

Assuming that the book meets or exceeds your lofty standards, and you’re ready to purchase it, here’s how to do so:

  1. Tap the price shown in the gray button on the book’s information page.

    Upon doing so, the dollar amount disappears, and the button becomes green and carries a green Buy Book label. If you tap a free book instead, the button is labeled Get Book.

  2. Tap the Buy Book/Get Book button.

  3. Enter your iTunes password (if you’re prompted) to proceed with the transaction.

    The book appears on your bookshelf in an instant, ready for you to tap it and start reading. You get an e-mail receipt acknowledging your purchase via the same mail account in which you receive other receipts from iTunes for music, movies, and apps.

If you buy another book within 15 minutes of your initial purchase, you aren’t prompted for your iTunes password again.

How to buy books for your iPad mini from beyond Apple

The business world is full of examples where one company competes with another on some level, only to work with it as a partner on another level. When the iPad first burst onto the scene in early April 2010, pundits immediately compared it to Amazon’s Kindle, the market-leading electronic reader.

Sure, the iPad had the larger screen and color, but the Kindle had a few bragging points too, including a longer battery life (up to about a month on the latest Kindle, versus about ten hours for the iPad), lighter weight, and a larger selection of books in its online bookstore.

But Amazon has long said that it wants Kindle books to be available for all sorts of electronic platforms, and the iPad, like the iPhone and iPod touch before it, is no exception. So, take a look at the free Kindle app for the iPad, especially if you’ve already purchased a number of books in Amazon’s Kindle Store and want access to that wider selection of titles.

The Barnes & Noble NOOK app is also worth a look. In fact, both Barnes & Noble and Amazon are competing against the iPad with smaller, less-expensive tablets, the Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD and HDX, respectively. Google is doing the same with the Nexus 7 tablet (with its Google Play app). And there are numerous other players in the space.

You can find several other e-book–type apps for the iPad in the App Store. Here are some e-book apps, just to name a few:

  • CloudReaders from Cloud Readers (free)

  • Free e-books by Kobo

  • Bluefire Reader from Bluefire Productions

How to find free books for your iPad mini from outside iBooks Store

Apple supports a technical standard — ePub, the underlying technology behind thousands of free public-domain books. You can import these to the iPad without shopping in the iBooks Store. Such titles must be DRM-free, which means that they’re free of digital rights restrictions.

To import ePub titles, you can download them to your Mac or PC (assuming that they’re not already there) and then sync them to the iPad through iTunes. There are other methods. If you have Dropbox, for example, you can bring an ePub into your account, and from Dropbox you can share the title with iBooks. You can also e-mail them as an attachment.

You can find ePub titles at numerous cyberspace destinations: