How to Read Books on a Mac

If you read digital books in addition to physical books, there is more than one way to benefit. From using your mobile device to an e-reader, you can read books on the go. But you can also immerse yourself in a novel, textbook, or short story on your Mac.

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

Read books with Apple Books on Mac

If you are an Apple user, the built-in Books app is the perfect choice to read on your Mac. This is especially handy if you also use books on your iPhone and iPad, as you can pick up where you left off on your computer.

The Books app is easy to use on macOS, but let’s see how to open a book and customize your reading experience.

Step 1: Display the left navigation to select a book. If you sync with iPhone and iPad, you can visit I read now to open a book you’ve already started. You can also consult the 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.

2nd step: If you see a book with a cloud icon under it, that means you’ll need to download it on Mac to read it. Click it Cloud icon or icon Three points next and select To download.

Download from the Book Actions menu in Apple Books.

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

On the right side, click the Theme and appearance (aA) to open a small pop-up window.

  • Font size: You can enlarge or reduce the font by clicking on the large or small A at the top.
  • Theme: Choose a theme color from white, sepia, gray or black. If you choose a dark color, the font will automatically update to a light color and vice versa.
  • The font style: You can then select a font style. This is ideal for a classic style for a novel or textbook with a basic print.
Theme and appearance settings for a book in the Books app.

Step 4: To turn the pages, you can click on the Arrow right or left, or swipe with your trackpad or Magic Mouse.

Arrows to turn the pages of a book in Apple Books.

Step 5: The Books app offers additional functionality in the toolbar while you read. On the left, you have three icons for displaying the table of contents, bookmarks, and highlights or notes.

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

A book toolbar in the Books app on Mac.

Step 6: To close a book you are reading, simply click the X in red at the top left of the window. You will then be returned to the main books window.

Read books with the Kindle app on Mac

Another good app for reading books on Mac is the Kindle app (free on the app store). If you have a Kindle e-reader, use the web reader, or have the Kindle app on your mobile device, you’ll like this option. Like the Books app, you can sync and continue reading on your Mac.

Step 1: Show the navigation on the left side to select a book. Click to view All Where Uploaded more books PDF and collections. To open a book, double-click it. If necessary, the book will download automatically.

Main screen of the Kindle app on Mac.

2nd step: Just like Apple Books on Mac, you can customize your reading experience in the Kindle app by selecting the Aa icon in the toolbar.

  • Character font: Choose a font style from nearly a dozen options, from basic to formal.
  • Font size: Use the slider to increase or decrease the font size.
  • Alignment: Select Justified or Left-aligned for page alignment.
  • line spacing: Choose Small, Medium or Large for 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 bright.
  • color mode: Choose from White, Black or Sepia. The font color will automatically update to dark or light depending on the color you choose.

To the right of the appearance icon, you can select a single-column, multi-column, or auto-fit option for the layout.

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

Step 3: To turn the pages, click on the Arrows right and left or swipe with your trackpad or Magic Mouse.

Arrows to turn pages in the Kindle app on Mac.

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

On the left side of the toolbar, go back to your Library, go Return, refresh or Go to a specific place in the book. On the right, bookmark current page or click Show notepad to see highlights or notes.

On the left side of the window, you have three icons for Table of Contents, Search, and Flashcard.

Toolbars for a book in the Kindle app.

Step 5: To close a book, click 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 materials, or opening a manual for a project. If you can’t decide between Apple Books and Kindle, you can always use both!

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Colin L. Johnson