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How to read O'Reilly ebooks on the iPad that aren't from the iBooks store

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  adfm's Photo
Posted Apr 05 2010 04:38 PM

Are you looking for a way to get the O'Reilly ebooks you currently own in ePub format on to your iPad? Follow these three easy steps and you'll be reading your favorite titles with iBooks in no time.

1. Download the ePub version of the book directly onto your computer.

2. Using iTunes 9.1 or later, add the books to your iTunes library. They should automatically go into the "Books" folder.

3. Sync your iPad. They will show up in the iBooks app.

Note: If you don't see a Books folder in iTunes you may have to open up iTunes Prefs and enable Books.

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How To Read O’Reilly eBooks on the iPad
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27 Replies

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  gavin.carothers's Photo
Posted Apr 05 2010 04:53 PM

In addition to the Apple provided iBooks reader application there are other reading Apps for the iPad. One of my favorites is Ibis Reader which is a web based and HTML5 ebook reader. To start reading O'Reilly books on the iPad you can go to http://oreilly.com/e login, and select a book to read. Then simply tap on the "Read in ibis reader" link and you'll be sent to the Ibis Reader web app. You can read your book online on the normal browsing interface, or go to http://m.ibisreader.com to install the HTML5 Local Storage version so you can read your books offline.
 : Apr 21 2010 06:28 AM
It would be nice if all of the O'Reilly books were available in ePub. As it stands, several are only available in PDF and do not read well on iPad in any app I've tried :(
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  Jeffrey Kempster's Photo
Posted Apr 21 2010 07:55 AM

Have you tried Good Reader for the iPad? It works with the PDF file great.
 : Apr 24 2010 10:11 AM

Actually, many O'Reilly books are available as ePubs if you buy the ebook.
 : Apr 28 2010 04:36 AM
This looks pretty much perfect.

One problem I've noticed with O'Reilly books in both the iPad Kindle app and in iBooks is that it's very hard to determine what chapter you're in. I often orient myself by going back to the table of contents to find something - but 'going back' is hard in both readers. If there was something in the page header which indicated more context that would be helpful.

Better yet would be something that worked like a stack - when I use a paper technical book I often put my finger where I am as a temporary bookmark and then find something else via the TOC or index.. when I'm done I return to where my finger is (and if where I end up is more useful - I remove my finger from the book. No - I haven't filed a patent for this yet...).

But - it's wonderfully usable in its current state. Thanks.
 : Apr 28 2010 09:53 PM
For the PDF only books I have been using Amazon convert (...@free.kindle.com) service to convert from PDF to AZW format. Then I am at least able to read it in a decent format on my Kindle application.
 : May 05 2010 05:14 AM
Thank you for the ePub Tip!

Regarding a PDF reader for iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad
gogoDocs is a Google Docs Reader (separate iPhone and iPad apps) that a friend of mine started in order to solve the problem of being able to take his Google Documents with him even when he doesn't have signal. <insert comment about AT&T in NYC here...> In gogoDocs, once you sign into your Google Docs account, you select which documents you would like to cache to your phone, and they are downloaded in the background. Likewise, when signal is restored and a document is found to be updated, it will download the update in the background.

While he was working on this, he noticed that the PDF renderer included in Cocoa Touch (I think it's from UIWebView, but I can't check right now) is fairly bad, so he rolled his own! In his renderer he has fixed the crashing and poor scrolling that plague most (including the Apple-provided) PDF renderers.

Two final features that I love are the Last Viewed Position bookmark and the Fast-Scrolling Bar. After returning to a document that you navigate away or close gogoDocs, a ribbon floats on the window showing the relative position of your Last Viewing Position. Clicking on this will return you to the page that you were last on. This disappears after a couple of seconds, but can be invoked by a button on the toolbar. Finally, there is a grabbable scrollbar similar to any desktop application when the content exceeds the viewable windows' size. (If you haven't noticed, iPhone 'scrollbars' only show relative position and size, but can't be dragged.)

I apologize for the shameless plug, but I really do love this app. It has become my favorite way to consume PDFs.

(Disclosure: I worked on it, but don't make any money from it's sale.)
 : Jun 03 2010 05:51 PM
I just bought "FileMaker Pro 11" in ebook format.
It offers only "pdf" format for the moment, no ePub format.
So iTunes doesn't accept only-pdf file in its library :-(

I tried the Good Reader app for iPad. It's great.
It's not as efficient as a real ePub book (you know the page turning fx, the browsing with indexes, etc.) but it's workable.

I prefer that than having to fight with the paper book to keep it open when I try to make the exercices on my laptop :-)))
 : Jul 07 2010 10:00 AM
Got as far as downloading and then transferring the ePub to iTunes books on my iMac. Can see it and my other regular books from Mac iTunes OK. However the ebook doesnt sync across to the iPad/iBooks- any clues ? running iTunes 9.2 ...
 : Jul 07 2010 02:08 PM
@Keith turnbull -- You may need to confirm you've told iTunes to sync Books from your computer to your iPad. Connect your iPad and then check out the "Books" tab (see attached screenshot).


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 : Jul 09 2010 02:53 AM
@andrewsavikas - A MobileMe 'ad' window fooled me as it was hiding the iPad settings window you showed in your post - had to move on past that - then the settings were apparently correct but not working so I had to specifically nudge it to sync the e-pub book via 'selected books' but now all synced.

Thanks for taking the time !!
  BakariLifetimePhotography's Photo
Posted Jul 21 2010 02:16 PM

IMHO, iPad app, iAnnotate is the BEST way to read PDFs. iBooks is for reading novels.
 : Jul 28 2010 11:09 AM
Well, so far downloading the eBooks and reading them on the iPad works perfectly. I've tried both ePub (iBooks) and PDFs (GoodReader) and it wors well.

The only exception to this is the eBook "Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML". While I can read it perfectly on the Adobe Reader on my PC it won't display any pictures in the reader(s) on the iPad.

I tried
- Good Reader
- iBooks
- PDF Reader
- Documents to Go

Always the same problem. Same goes for downloading it multiple times from different computers. As I said, all the other 11 eBooks from O'Reilly I bought work well - just not that one.

Anybody got an idea for a solution?
  novafox's Photo
Posted Mar 22 2011 10:59 AM

For Sean

All of the iPad book readers have a bookmark solution.

In Kindle, tap the upper right corner to get a bookmark (or clear one). To go to a previous bookmark, tap the bottom edge and then tap the open book icon. Select My Notes & Marks and select the bookmark.

In iBooks, tap the upper right corner bookmark icon to set or clear a bookmark. To go to a bookmarked page, tap the bullet list icon on the upper left then the bookmarks tab. Select the bookmark.

In GoodReader, tap the open book icon on the bottom edge then select bookmarks on the bottom edge of the pop-up window. Select Add Bookmark to add one. You can even name the bookmark or leave the default page reference. To remove a bookmark is a little bit cumbersome - once in the pop-up window, select edit. Select the - sign next to the bookmark to be deleted and then confirm the delete.

Hope this helps. If nothing else, keeps your finger from getting paper cuts. :)
  01010011's Photo
Posted Mar 22 2011 07:11 PM

The best app I've found is GoodReader to read Ebooks downloaded as PDF's and it works especially well with large PDF files. It also fully supports Google Docs and Dropbox.
  allogarage's Photo
Posted Dec 06 2011 08:40 AM

Thanks for the tips! I've just bought an "old" iPad v1, and thanks to you I can now read all of my favourites tech books.
  JohnEb's Photo
Posted Jun 09 2012 01:08 AM

I have recently purchased Programming Perl (The Camel book) 4th edition as an Epub ebook. I am trying to read it with the iBook reader in an iPad, but I find some serious deficiencies for reading a technical book this way. I will list these drawbacks in order of importance as specifications for an O'Reilly book reader, which would benefit from features I want to suggest here.

1) The Camel book is so long, that it takes 5 to 10 minutes to search the whole of it for a phrase. Even then the results are often not very meaningful. There is no way to start searching at a particular spot, like the Index at the back. I soon gave up on searches. So firstly a localized search is needed.

2) More importantly what is needed is a separate menu point to search only the Index for particular words or symbols. These should only find the Index entries, from where one can navigate to the text pointed to. It would also be important to resume the Index search where one left off. This would involve flicking backwards and forwards from text to Index and back, just as one does when studying the typical O'Reilly technical paper book.

3) The format displayed on iBook is two columns in landscape mode and one column in portrait mode. Even in portrait mode, where you get longer lines, the formatting of program snippets just does not fit across the page and long lines (usually important comments) finish up on the left hand side, making the whole view of the program snippets ugly and untidy, which detracts badly for me from understanding what they are about. You are for ever having to skip over the tail end of a comment on every second line. This makes it very hard to skim such example code with the left side of the brain (or is it the right) to take it in on the fly. The situation is worse in landscape mode with its two narrow columns. The solution would be to have an option to have one wide column in landscape mode. By and large I find it more relaxing to hold and stand up the iPad in landscape mode anyway.

To summarise: A good O'Reilly book technical ebook reader should have the ability to specifically search the Index and the ability to display wide lines in one column in landscape mode.

If anyone knows of a reader which approaches these specs, pls let me know. I would be interested in participating in an open source project to produce such a reader. If anyone has ideas to share or to join me in such a project, pls let me know. JohnEb.
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  bravo223's Photo
Posted Sep 06 2012 09:00 AM

If you don't own the title yet, consider buying OReilly ebooks from Inkling - https://www.inkling....brand/oreilly/. They're way better than the epub or PDF versions. Some books even allow you to run the code samples. They work on the web and iphone too.
  William Leue's Photo
Posted Dec 04 2012 08:58 AM

Another easy way to get ebooks into the iBook reader on the iPad is to use Dropbox (or similar) to copy the book from a Mac (or whatever) to the iPad, and then use the 'Open In..." command in Dropbox to copy the ebook to IReader. Simple and quick.
  ggreco's Photo
Posted Dec 04 2012 01:45 PM

I use the O'Reilly 'Send to DropBox' feature, then load the eBooks onto my iPad via DropBox (either the DropBox or GoodReader apps). Lately, I have been opening/reading the PDF eBooks in the PerfectReader app. It has a nice selection of notations and annotations features.
  tumadman's Photo
Posted Apr 02 2013 04:49 PM

I love O'Reilly books, they are the best ever! I look forward to reading more. How I wish I knew about this earlier... Thank you so much for the update. What does everyone else think about this?
  Sophy12's Photo
Posted Jan 11 2014 02:37 AM

I use Good Reader app to read all the eBooks on my iPad mini.
  henkz's Photo
Posted Mar 17 2014 05:09 PM

I did the Uploded files, and did as the illustrations shows and nothing goes right. Why? Someone help?
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  Tom12345's Photo
Posted Apr 11 2014 07:49 AM

This software is very good, I am very willing to read the O'Reilly book on the iPad it helps me a lot thanks wydajna fotowoltaika.
  yameen01's Photo
Posted Apr 11 2014 11:54 AM

Thank you for Sharing

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