How To Save Web Pages for Reading in iBooks (on a Mac)

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print to iTunes

Have you ever started reading a long article on the web and thought that it would be great to be able to read it in iBooks on the iPad? If so, did you know it’s quite easy (on a Mac) to print a web page as a PDF to iTunes and read it later on the iPad (or iPhone) in iBooks?

Well … it is. Read on for a quick rundown on how it’s done …

How To Send Web Pages to iBooks

To save any full web article for transfer to iBooks (via iTunes) on a Mac here’s what you need to do:

— Create an alias of the iTunes application. To do so, browse to your /Applications folder in Finder and right-click on the iTunes app icon. Choose ‘Make Alias’ from the menu list that pops up.

make iTunes alias

— Drag the alias you just created to the desktop. Then browse in Finder to the ~/Library/PDF Services folder, and drag the iTunes alias into that folder.

— Now you’re ready to save a web page for use in iBooks. Browse to any web page you want to save in this way.

— Click on the File Menu in your browser and choose the ‘Print’ item in the menu.

— In the Print dialog that pops up, click on the PDF button at the lower left, and then choose ‘iTunes’ from the drop-down that appears (as shown in the screencap at the top of this post).

Now you should be able to go to the iTunes app and click on the Books selection within the Library section in the left pane, and see your newly saved web article shown there.

You can modify the title and other details listed for the web article by right-clicking on its entry in the Library and clicking on the Info tab, then just edit as desired.

After seeing this method mentioned at Mac Os X Hints, I’ve tried this out with a handful of web articles. It works well, and is especially nice for long, multi-page articles – like Engadget’s excellent iPhone 4 review …

I really like the iBooks app, and I think this is a nice option to have alongside dedicated apps like InstaPaper and Read It Later. I’m sure there’s a fairly simple way to accomplish the same thing in Windows, but I haven’t played around with that as yet. If you know the steps for Windows, please share in the comments.

Hope this is a helpful tip for those of you who are iBooks fans.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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9 thoughts on “How To Save Web Pages for Reading in iBooks (on a Mac)”

  1. I'm too addicted to Instapaper to even consider trying this. Plus, I sync my iPhone/iPad probably once every six months.

    I have wondered lately if Instapaper might come up with a way to send a document, via PDF, directly to iBooks (no syncing ever needed).

  2. I bet the devs at InstaPaper and Read It Later are looking at ways to send to iBooks – that would be a slick additional feature.

  3. I just tried this, and it will do more. Open your web browser, I tried it on firefox for mac, and then open a text file. I chose a microsoft word file from my desktop, in your browser. Now you can print to itunes alias using text edit ot pages. Now you have documents in your ibboks.
    Thanks for the idea.

  4. This sounds like too much work. I just use Dropbox and anytime I drop a PDF in there, I can read it directly and instantly on my iPad – no syncing required. You can even easily move the file to iBooks with 2 taps. And you're not just limited to printing from within a web browser – I've even gone as far as being able to create and share on just a single command line!

    1. Great stuff. I'm not a command line kinds guy on the Mac yet, but I use Dropbox tons and definitely see it as the easiest way to get PDFs and other files across to the iPad.

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