Apple's new cloud-syncing option for iBooks is one of the more highly anticipated features in iOS 9.3, but there is a surprising lack of technical info online.
I was googling for info earlier today so I could set up the feature and use it myself, but all I found were old queries from 2012 and 2013. And so I thought a post with current info might be helpful.
It turns out it's pretty simple to set up iCloud for iBooks (or iBooks for iCloud) and have it sync all of your ebook library to to the iCloud server.
- Update to iOS 9.3,
- Enable Cloud Drive (in Settings), and
- Update and open iBooks.
That first step is a killer, especially if your older iDevice can't run iOS 9 (luckily you do have other options), but once you are past that point you should have no trouble at all.
Based on what I have seen, and on similar reports over at MobileRead, iCloud for iBooks is automatic. It will back up your entire iBooks ebook library to iCloud, including the ebooks you have downloaded from free ebook sites (as well as the annotations for those ebooks).
In fact, I don't know of a way to disable the sync feature, other than disabling iCloud. Help?
Once those ebooks are backed up, they can be downloaded from other iDevices that are tied to the same Apple account, and that is a problem if you want to keep your ebooks secure. If, for example, you are reading a PDF with sensitive or proprietary info, you don't want it getting into your iCloud account (Apple's servers have been hacked before).
But if you have security concerns, I'm sure you thought of that issue.
P.S. If you cannot update to iOS 9.3, you might want to consider using either Google Play Books or the Kindle app. Both Amazon and Google offer similar sync features as iCloud for iBooks, only they don't quite work the same.
Google requires that you upload ebooks before you download them to the Play Books app (here's more info), and Amazon requires that you either email or upload your docs before downloading them to the app (but only if you want to use the Kindle cloud sync option).
image by krossbow