How to read books on a Mac

If you read digital books beyond the physical ones, there is more than one way to enjoy them. From using your mobile device to an e-reader, you can read books on the go. But you can also dive into a novel, manual or short story on your Mac.

When you’re working on your computer and need a little break, you can open a book app and read a chapter or two. We show you how to read books on a Mac using Apple Books and the Kindle app.

Open book on a MacBook in bed.

Read books with Apple Books on Mac

If you are an Apple user, then the built-in Books app is the ideal choice for reading on your Mac. This is especially handy if you also use Books on your iPhone and iPad because you can continue where you left off on your computer.

The Books app is easy to use on MacOS, but let’s take a look at how to open a book and customize your reading experience.

Step 1: See the navigation on the left to select a book. If you sync with iPhone and iPad, you can visit Reading now to open a book you have already started. You can also see library section for all your books, samples and PDFs. And at the bottom you can open one of the groups in My Collections.

Apple Books main screen on Mac.

Step 2: If you see a book with a cloud icon underneath it, that means you need to download it to your Mac to read it. click on Cloud the icon or Three dots next to and select fetch.

Download from the Bookstores menu in Apple Books.

Step 3: To open the book, simply double-click on it. The book opens in its own window that you can customize to enhance your reading experience. Move the cursor to the top of the window to display the toolbar.

Click on the right side Theme and appearance icon (aA) to open a small pop-up window.

  • Font size: You can make the font larger or smaller by clicking on the large or small ONE on the top.
  • Theme: Choose a theme color from white, sepia, gray or black. If you select a dark color, the font will automatically update to a light color and vice versa.
  • font: You can then select a font. This is great for a classic style for a novel or a manual with basic print.
Theme and appearance settings for a book in the Books app.

Step 4: To flip the pages, click Arrow right or left, or swipe with the trackpad or Magic Mouse.

Arrows to turn pages into a book in Apple Books.

Step 5: The Books app offers additional toolbar features as you read. On the left you have three icons to display the table of contents, bookmarks and highlights or notes.

To the right, around the theme and appearance icon, you have buttons to share the book, search it, or bookmark the current page.

Toolbar for a book in the Books app on Mac.

Step 6: To close a book you are reading, simply click on it x in red at the top left of the window. You will then return to the Books main window.

Read books with the Kindle app on Mac

Another great app for reading books on Mac is the Kindle app (free in the App Store). If you have a Kindle e-reader, use the web-based reader or have the Kindle app on your mobile device, you will like this option. Like the Books app, you can sync and keep reading on your Mac.

Step 1: See the navigation on the left to select a book. Click to view All or Downloaded books in addition PDFs and Collections. Double-click it to open a book. If necessary, the book is downloaded automatically.

Kindle app main screen on Mac.

Step 2: Like Apple Books on Mac, you can customize your reading experience in the Kindle app by selecting Aa the icon on the toolbar.

  • Font: Choose a font from nearly a dozen options from basic to formula.
  • Font size: Use the slider to increase or decrease the font size.
  • Adjustment: Choose between Aligned or Left-aligned for the page alignment.
  • Line spacing: Select Small, Medium or Large for the line spacing.
  • Page width: Use the slider to increase or decrease the width of the page as it appears in the window.
  • Brightness: Use the slider to adjust the brightness from dark to light.
  • Color mode: Choose between white, black or sepia. The font color is automatically updated to dark or light depending on the color you select.

To the right of the appearance icon, you can choose from a single column, multiple columns, or automatic layout adjustment.

Theme and appearance settings for a book in the Kindle app.

Step 3: Click to flip the pages Pile right and left or swipe with your trackpad or Magic Mouse.

Arrows to flip through the Kindle app on the Mac.

Step 4: You will notice other icons in the toolbar and on the left side that you can use as you read.

In the left side of the toolbar, you return to your library, go Back, update or Go to a specific place in the book. To the right, Bookmark the current page or click View notebook to see highlights or notes.

On the left side of the window you have three icons for table of contents, search and flash card.

Toolbars for a book in the Kindle app.

Step 5: Click to close a book library to the left of the toolbar. Your reading progress is saved automatically.

Reading a book on your Mac is handy for a coffee break, using reference material, or opening a manual for a project. If you can not choose between Apple Books and Kindle, you can always use both!

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