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How To Use Collections To Manage Your iBooks Library

Between prior purchases and poor self-restraint, I now have an e-book library in iBooks several hundred titles strong on my iPad, and it’s growing constantly. Simply sorting by Title, Author, or Genre just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Thankfully, the introduction of user-manageable Collections in iBooks adds some much needed depth to iPad e-book organization.
Collections in iBooks let you create a sort of subfolder in your library wherein you can house related books. In my case, as you can see from the screenshot below, I’ve created collections for book series, general photography resources (the manuals to my cameras are in there, along with e-books about photography I’ve purchased, since you can mix and match e-books and PDFs), gaming information, authors (books by and about) and a lot more besides. It’s all quite easy to do, as you can see from the following instructions.

Managing Your Collections

Step One: Getting Your Books In
If you use iBooks exclusively for your ebook needs, getting your books in is a piece of cake. If, like me, you’ve got a library spread across multiple vendors you’re going to need to break the DRM (which you do at your own risk, and only through means you yourself dig up) on them and then import them to iBooks via iTunes. I also had a problem managing collections with books I already had in the library before the update, so, it’s worth re-syncing all of your books before managing your collections.
Step Two: Creating a Collection
At first, iBooks has two collections: Books and PDFs. Obviously, your ePub books are in Books, and any imported PDFs are in, well, PDFs. To create a new collection, simply press New at the bottom of the Collections window. Give your new Collection a name and you’re good to go.
Step Three: Putting Stuff in the Collection
Press the Edit button on the upper right hand corner of your library. Select the books you want to move to the collection and press Move in the upper left corner of the screen. Choose your destination collection and the items will be moved there. That’s all there is to it.


I haven’t run into too many limitations using collections. Most of them I can work around — using the search I can filter by specific authors, titles, etc. The biggest problem is that all your Collection management has to happen within the app; you can’t manage them via iTunes where using the keyboard and mouse is a tad easier. Apple should really think about adding that feature into iTunes, which really needs to do some growing up to become the multifunction hardware and media manager Apple’s positioned it as.
Got any tips about how to best use collections? Share them in the comments.