Where Are Apple Books Downloads Stored in macOS?

Posted by Jim Tanous on July 25, 2019
apple books download location

Using the Apple Books app in macOS (formerly known as iBooks), you can download your Books to your Mac, iPhone, IPad, or other iOS devices for reading offline. B

ut where are Apple Books downloads stored on your Mac? There’s no Books folder in your user directory, and there’s no Show in Finder option when viewing downloaded books in the app.

The answer is that the downloaded Apple Books location depends on the type of file you’re looking for. That’s because the Books app allows users to browse and read both purchased books from the Apple Books Store as well as compatible ePUB files that a user manually adds to the app.
ibooks download

Apple Books Location for Purchased Books

For books that you’ve purchased from the Apple Books Store and then downloaded to your Mac, you can find them at the following location, opening the Books directory.

$ open ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.BKAgentService/Data/Documents/iBooks/Books
apple books download location purchased
There you’ll find a list of ePUB files for your purchased books. Apple, unfortunately, uses unique identifiers for the file names, so you’ll need to use Quick Look to find the books you’re looking for.

Another issue is that purchased books from the Apple Books Store are protected with Digital Rights Management (DRM), so while you can make backup copies of these files for use in the Books app, you won’t be able to open them in other eBook applications like Calibre.

Apple Books Location for iCloud Imported Books

If you’ve imported compatible ePUB and PDF files into iBooks, the app will sync those for you via iCloud so that you can read them on your iOS devices and other Macs.

This process for ePUB and PDF files means, however, that these books are stored separately from purchased books.

First, you need to ensure that your iCloud account is configured to sync your imported books.

To configure your iCloud to sync up with your imported books, go to System Preferences > iCloud > iCloud Drive Options to make sure that Books is checked.
icloud apple books syncing
Once it is, you can a Terminal command to navigate to the appropriate directory on your Mac, since if you try to navigate there manually in Finder, it will switch to showing you the iCloud documents folder instead. Open the Terminal app and open the iBooks directory with the open command.

$ open ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.BKAgentService/Data/Documents/iBooks

This open command will open a Finder window displaying all of your imported Apple Books files.apple books download location icloud
Since you added these files to the Apple Books app, they shouldn’t have DRM and you can, therefore, copy and backup these files for use in other apps that are compatible with the ePUB format.

Backing Up Individual Apple Books

The steps above are useful if you want to grab backup copies of your entire Apple Books library or at least many of its titles.

If you only want to back up one or two books, you can instead launch the Apple Books app, find and download the desired book, and then simply click and drag the book out of the app and onto your desktop (or any other directory in Finder).

This process will create a correctly named ePUB that you can then manually move or back up. The same restrictions with DRM for purchased books apply.

If you’d like to read more about how to get more out of iBooks, please check more TechJunkie articles, including The Best Audible Alternatives for Audiobooks – 2019 and How To Buy Kindle books on the iPhone or iPad.

If you have any tips or tricks on how to better manage your Apple Books, please leave us a comment below!

One thought on “Where Are Apple Books Downloads Stored in macOS?”

Lee says:
This appears to have been changed as I currently have 95 books and pdfs in my Apple Books app, but none of these locations show any files. Even if I turn on “show hidden files”, the only file that appears is a .plist file. Any other suggestions as to where to look? Currently on 10.14.6.

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