This is the revised version of my earlier post about getting our books back in iTunes on Mavericks. After a year of work, Apple releases their latest version of OS X, yet they did not fix their greatest disaster in OS X since Mavericks: iBooks app for Mac.

Why do I think iBooks for Mac is a disaster? (the next few paragraphs are borrowed from my other post)

I like iBooks in my iPhone and iPad, so I was expecting something better and more powerful for the desktop version. I was so wrong.

When we first run iBooks, it will show a welcome screen where we can “Get Started” using iBooks. What will actually happen is… iBooks will *move* our book library from iTunes to iBooks. The next time we open iTunes, our books are no longer there.

To make things worse, iBooks unzipped the EPUB files into folders. In case you didn’t know, EPUB format is actually a compressed file that contains structures of files and folders inside. Storing those books in uncompressed format means: it takes more space.

To make things even worse, we can no longer edit any of our books’ metadata in iBooks library. So we can’t edit the book title, author, or any other information. This will not be a problem if ALL our books are purchased from Apple iBookstore. But who does that? I bet most people have their own ebooks either in EPUB or PDF format in their iTunes library.

I created some of my own EPUB files (converted them from other formats). So I absolutely need the ability to edit ebook metadata in my iTunes library (or now iBooks library). And I can’t believe they actually removed a feature that was previously available and doing just fine !

Now, after getting frustrated with how bad library management in iBooks, I just realized that my original EPUB files are gone. Yep, after iBooks “converted” the books into its internal library, it DELETED my original EPUB files. Luckily I still have a backup of those files.

To be fair, the reading feature itself works fine. I can read by ebooks and it looks good in my desktop screen. But other third party apps already gave me this capability. What I need is a flexible and powerful way to manage my books library, including metadata editing AND the ability to prevent iBooks from automatically manage my ebook files.


Disclaimer: This guide assumes that you still have backup files for books that are NOT purchased from iBookStore. Do a Time Machine backup before starting. As usual, I am not responsible for any problem from using this guide, use it at your own risk.

When I upgraded from Mountain Lion to Mavericks, I had to do these steps to remove iBooks for Mac and returned my books back to iTunes. 10 days ago I upgraded from Mavericks to Yosemite and I immediately found that the upgrade restored iBooks app for Mac, and my books disappeared again from iTunes. Since I never opened iBooks app in my Mac at all since Yosemite upgrade, I simply did the following steps and got my books back to iTunes:

1. Restart the computer.

2. Use AppCleaner to remove iBooks app completely. Don’t forget to clean the trash.

3. Restart the computer again.

4. Open iTunes, Books menu should appear again there, along with our books.

Again, these steps above would only work if you have done my steps from my other post to remove iBooks in Mavericks and have never opened iBooks app in Yosemite. If things go wrong, you can always use the backup from Time Machine.


For other situations, use these steps instead (tested with 10.10.0 and 10.10.1) :

1. Open System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items and make sure there is no iTunes there. If iTunes is listed there, remove it by using the minus button. You might need to enter your Mac login password. Be careful not to remove different items.

2. Restart your computer and do NOT open iTunes or iBooks.

3. Open Terminal app and execute this command:
sudo mv /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/BookKit.framework/Versions/A/XPCServices/{,-disabled}

4. Use AppCleaner to remove iBooks app completely. Don’t forget to clean the trash.

5. Restart the computer again and open iTunes. Your books should return to iTunes now.

6. Delete the ebook files from ~/Library/Containers/ so iTunes library will detect them as missing. If you can’t see this folder, you might need to set your Mac to display hidden files and folder (just Google some guides on how to do this).

7. Re-download books that we purchased from iBookstore. Or alternatively if we have those books in our iPhone or iPad, we can just sync them with iTunes and choose to transfer those books.

8. For books from any other source, right click for each book in iTunes, choose Get Info and it will ask the location of the file. Point the location to the ebook file that we have restored. Yes it’s probably a long and tiring process especially if we have plenty of books.

9. An alternative to step 8 is to delete all the books (that are not purchased from iBookStore) from iTunes library and re-import them from the files. All the metadata we created before should remain unchanged.

Credits to Jeff for the Terminal command.

Let me know if the steps work for you.


edit 1 Dec 2014: I just realized that after installing OSX 10.10.1 update, iBooks have returned and my books were gone again from iTunes. I simply removed iBooks using AppCleaner, restart the computer and all my books are restored back to iTunes (I have never opened iBooks app for Mac at all). So, I think it’s safe to assume that we will have to do this for every future updates.

edit 11 Dec 2014: Today I rearranged some points to make them clearer, plus adding information about hidden library folder.

edit 28 Mar 2015: I received mixed feedback on using this guide for 10.10.2. Some indicated that this guide works fine for 10.10.2 while some others experienced issues. All my Macs use 10.10.2 today with iBooks app removed and all my books have returned to iTunes. However, I did not need to do the steps above on 10.10.2 (since I already did that in the first release of Yosemite).

edit 9 Apr 2015: I updated to 10.10.3 today. As usual, iBooks app returned. I simple deleted the app using AppCleaner. Note that I do not open the iBooks app at all. Then I restarted my computer and all my books returned to iTunes library.

edit 1 Jul 2015: I updated to 10.10.4 and iTunes 12.2 today. Without opening iBooks app, I quickly removed it using AppCleaner and my books are still safe in iTunes.

edit 15 Aug 2015: Updating to OS X 10.10.5 will automatically remove our books from iTunes, even we have not open iBooks app at all. This can still be solved by removing iBooks app using AppCleaner. The latest version of AppCleaner (version 2.3) classifies iBooks as “default app”, so it will put a lock to prevent us from removing the app. To fix this, go to AppCleaner’s Preferences and uncheck the option to “Protect default apps”. You should be able to remove iBooks app now. Optionally you might want to reactivate that option to prevent deletion of other default apps. If you have not opened iBooks app at all since installing 10.10.5, your books should returns to iTunes without any problem.

edit 27 Nov 2015: For OS X 10.11 El Capitan users, please read this post.