There are no wooden bookshelves in iBooks on the Mac. Instead iBooks sports clean grey rows of book covers. Your book collection is synced across all your devices via iCloud and you can buy books and read them on your Mac. While reading a book on a computer screen may not seem that natural, we imagine students will find it useful to be able to open up a number of books on screen. Apple showed a demo of copying and pasting text from an iBooks Author created textbook into a Pages document, something that we imagine many students will take advantage of. Apple assured us that this will not encourage plagiarism, the text can be copied across with source information for that all important bibliography, and a book can be set up in such a way that text cannot be copied at all.

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26 tips to help you get to know iBooks on the Mac

Q: How do I buy a book from the iBooks Store?

1. Open iBooks and click iBooks Store (top left). Apple has sorted the iBook Store into various categories to make finding the kind of book you are interested in easier. The company also has various promotional slots for 'What's Hot', 99p books, and the 'Book of the Week'. There is also a Free section that includes Apple's own iPad User Guide for iOS 7 as well as classics like 'The Great Gatsby'.

2. If you find a book you want to buy click on Buy and enter your Apple ID and password. You will have a chance to confirm that you wish to buy the book before it downloads to your device.

3. If you want to download all iBook Store purchases to all your devices automatically, go to iBooks > Preferences and click Store and ensure that Download new purchases automatically is selected.

4. Your iBooks are associated with your personal Apple ID. You can authorize up to five Macs to read purchased books on. If your Mac isn't authorized to read a book you have bought from the iBooks Store choose Store > Authorise this computer.

5. In some cases you can download book samples before you decide to buy a book. Click Get Sample. The sample is usually the first chapter of the book, in the case of the new Bridget Jones book, the sample includes the first 46 pages. If you then decide to buy the book just select Buy, which is an option that appears on every page and on the last page of the sample. 

6. If you find a book you think someone else would like you can click on the down arrow beside the price to reveal a menu that allows you to Tweet, Email, Message, Facebook, copy a link to the page in the iBook Store, or add to your own Wishlist.

7. To get back to your iBooks Library when you are in the iBook Store click Library in the top left.

Q: How do I stop the kids downloading dodgy books?

8. There are quite a few examples of literature that you might not want youngsters to download from the iBook Store. You can set parental controls by going to iBooks > Preferences and clicking Parental. Click the lock and select Restrict books with explicit content. This means that the kids won't be able to download books with explicit content (they will see the book cover but the download button will not be active). That said, a quick look at the most popular free books suggests that a number of such books are getting around these parental controls. You can also choose to Disable the iBooks Store.

Q: How do I open an iBook

9. To open a book in iBooks just click on the book in your library view. The book will show up even if it's not currently on your Mac, but you can download it from iCloud by clicking on the cloud icon in the top right or double clicking the book.

Q: How do I move around an iBook?

10. To move from page to page in an iBook on your Mac click anywhere on the right edge of the right page to go forwards, or the left side of the left page to go back. Hover at the top of the screen and you will see an icon for the table of contents (this looks slightly different depending on the book).  You can also click and drag the bar at the bottom of the book to skip back or forwards in the book.

Q. How do I search an iBook?

11. You can also search your iBook, click the magnifying glass icon in the top right of the iBook.

Q:  How do I mark where I finished reading? 

12. The great thing about iCloud is that it should mean that when you stop reading a book on one device and pick up another the book should open at the page you left it on. This means that there is no longer any need for bookmarks. However, if you want to mark a place in the book to return to you can bookmark the page. You can add as many bookmarks are you like. Just click on the tag at the top right of the iBook. Once a page is bookmarked the icon will turn red. To see other bookmarks select the down arrow beside the bookmark icon. The listing beside the bookmark will be the page number and chapter. Unfortunately you cannot rename the bookmark. To delete a bookmark just click the x beside it.

Q: How do I change the way my iBook looks?

13. There are lots of options for adjusting the appearance of your iBook. You can choose to view a single page rather than two pages. Choose View > Single Page. You can opt to have iBooks not justify text and turn auto-hyphenation off as well. Go to iBook Preferences > and choose Let lines break naturally instead of Justify text. 

14. You can also read your iBooks in Full Screen View. Click the arrows in the top right. To return to the normal view press esc or hover in the right corner until you see the arrows again.

Q: How can I change the font size in an iBook?

15. Some books will allow you to change the font. There are seven fonts on offer, including Georgia, Times New Roman and Charter. Some books also allow you to change the size of the font. Note any change to the size and font may mean you move back or forward in the book as the pages will have a different number of words on them. There are 12 font sizes to choose from.

16. You can also change some book's background from white to Sepia or Black. Black would probably be a better choice if you are reading in the dark as there will be less screen glare.

17. If you prefer your iBook paragraphs not to be fully justified you can go to iBooks > Preferences > General and then select Let lines break naturally. To return it to justified text, select Justify text (space words to fit columns).

Q: How do I see multimedia in iBooks?

18. Apple sells a number of text books built using iBooks Author. These iBooks feature multimedia, including movies, 3D objects, slideshows and more. For example, E.O Wilson's Life on Earth (£1.49, although it will download a sample rather than the full book) includes various multimedia features. It begins with a video and includes various high-resolution photographs. You will see boxes indicating that you can select various areas of images to zoom in for more details. Click on any image to view it separately. Video is indicated by the play icon in the centre, and can be played if you click on that icon. You can also click the icon on the top left corner to view the video. You can take part in quizzes. Click through slideshows by clicking the arrows below the images. 3D objects can be rotated, just flick on the object and drag it.

Q: How do I add a note to iBooks on the Mac

19. These iBooks Author books are obviously ideal for education, but any book you read in iBooks can take advantage of handy student oriented features that are built into the app. For example, you can add a note, highlight the text and add your comments in the column on the left. To add a note, select the text to highlight it, then in the left hand column add any notes you want to associate with your highlighted text. We have to admit, it’s easier to add notes this way then on the iPad.

20. To view notes and highlights click the note icon in the top right of the book, the icon will turn blue when selected.

21. Highlighting passages is a good way to find points in the book that you want to return to.

22. You can search though your notes and highlights from the top of this left-hand column.

23. You can view the book's glossary terms along with your notes and highlights in the form of study cards if the book you are reading was made with iBooks Author.  Select View > Show Study Cards. You can click Flip Card to see the back of the card. Click the Shuffle button in the top-right to move through the cards randomly. It's a shame you can't build Flip Cards from any iBook.

Q: How can I open more than on ebook in iBooks

24. You can also have more than one book open at once - the classic and the study companion, for example.

Q: How do I copy and paste text from iBooks on the Mac

25. Want to copy and paste text from a book in iBooks? Chances are that anything you have bought from Apple’s iBookstore won't allow this: select the text and the Copy button will be greyed out. However, in some iBooksAuthor created books we found that we could copy, and when we did so it pulled over the details of what the source was and even an iTunes store link where the book can be purchased from.

Q: How can I get iBooks to read out loud?

26. If the book has a Read Aloud feature you can click the speaker icon and select Start Reading to have the book read to you. If the book doesn't have a Read Aloud feature you can right click on the text and get the voice of Siri to read it to you. However, it will only read the words highlighted, and it won't turn the pages for you, so this isn’t really a practice way to get an audio book.