Fix iBooks missing after upgrading to OS X El Capitan

iBooksIconXAfter installing OS X El Capitan, you may find that iBooks will not access your book library. When you open the program, it will either show a blank window with no content, or display an error that states iBooks cannot access your library, and claim that the disk on which the library is stored cannot be located. If these happen to you, there is a relatively easy fix for the situation.

First try re-establishing your iBooks account by signing out and back into the iBooks store, done in the Store menu. You can also try using the options in this menu to Deauthorize and then Re-authorize your system. After these are done, quit and re-launch iBooks to see if your library contents show up, but if not, then proceed with the following steps to reset your iBooks library.

  1. Quit iBooks
  2. Hold the Option key and choose Library from the Go menu in the Finder
  3. Open the Containers folder in the window that opens
  4. Move the folder called to your Desktop
  5. Move the folder called to your Desktop
  6. Open iBooks

When you do this, you may need to sign back into the iBooks Store, and will need to re-download your books by clicking on the iBooks Store button in the upper left, and then clicking the Purchased section on the right to select and download your content.

Note that this will only restore your book purchases, but if you have manually added PDFs to your iBooks library then you will have to re-add them again. You can drag them from the Finder to the iBooks window, but if you cannot locate your originals, then access them in your prior iBooks library by the following steps:

  1. Open the folder you previously dragged to your Desktop
  2. Go to the Data > Documents > iBooks > Books folder
  3. Locate the PDFs that you are currently missing
  4. Drag the PDFs to a location of your choosing to preserve them, and then drag them into iBooks

In this same location you will see the epub book files that you had purchased from the iBooks Store. While you can similarly drag these from this location back to iBooks, your best bet to preserve full functionality is to  re-download them from the iBooks store.

8 thoughts on “Fix iBooks missing after upgrading to OS X El Capitan

  1. Scott Steinman

    On El Capitan, iBooks displays my library’s contents, but will not display the iBooks Store itself. All of the store’s pages show up as blank.

    1. Lorne

      I have the exact same issue, Scott, after just finally installing El Capitan. And no amount of fiddling with my library will fix it. I have a sneaking suspicion it’s a font issue. I’m a designer and always rearrange fonts after an OS install, deactivating many of them. I’ve tried but can’t determine if there’s a particular font iBooks needs to display the store. Of course I could be all wrong.

      Oh, and the store does display correctly in a fresh new user account on my machine.

  2. Scott Steinman

    It’s a slightly different problem that Topher didn’t address. The library itself Is intact and working fine. It’s the IBooks Store that’s not working. I’d hate to delete my entire library of a couple of hundred eBooks and PDFs (especially since this library is synced to my iPad) unless I knew for certain that doing so would fix my iBooks Store access. It would be an awful lot of work to rebuild the library.

  3. Ted

    I did a clean install of EC so iBooks working “fine”, except the navbar at the top is not visible. As such, the TOC, Notes, Bookmarks, Fonts, etc icons are not accessible. So typical of the failed Apple operating system…

  4. Wilson Laidlaw

    Still not working for me. Frontispiece of book opens but you cannot enter to read. Wanted to use iBooks for Mac, as left iPad in error at UK house over the week-end. Done all the library resetting steps, no improvement. A lot (90%) of my library are personal ePubs not Apple Store books, so cannot re-download from the store . This is reminiscent of the disappearing personal music on iTunes with Apple Music.

  5. Fran

    Thanks so much this looks like it cleared up my problem. I had deleted these 50 or so documents folders with just Ichat in them,(Bad idea, wont’ do it again, it made the path gods angry I think) but one of them was an Ibooks folder and it messed up my stuff. I would get weird error messages and it would say things like “original file not found”. But this worked wonders, thanks again.

  6. Maxime

    Works Perfectly ! Thanks !
    (ps: I dragged my previous books from my old books folder directly to my iBooks icon, and it redwonloaded everything in a sec ! )

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