Most iBooks Textbooks are between 1GB and 3GB in size

20 January, 2012 - Killian Bell
iTunes U app

Following the launch of iBooks 2 yesterday and the new software’s support for digital textbooks, Apple added a textbook section to its iBookstore which will be the home of all those magnificent interactive books it showed off at the event. But those who began downloading titles as soon as they went live discovered something: textbooks files are huge!

The textbooks currently available weigh in between just under 1GB and just under 3GB in size, which is more than than some of the largest iOS games. That’s not too bad if you’re only using one or two, but as your collection begins to build, it may become an issue – especially if your iPad is only packing 16GB of storage.

Here’s a list of the textbooks currently available and the size of each file, courtesy of Cult of Mac:

  • E.O. Wilson’s Life On Earth: 965MB
  • McGraw Hill’s Algebra 1: 1.09GB
  • Pearson’s Biology: 2.77GB
  • McGraw Hill’s Biology: 1.49GB
  • National’s Chemistry: 959MB
  • Pearson’s Environmental Science: 793MB
  • McGraw Hill’s Geometry: 1.22GB
  • McGraw Hill’s Physics: 1.25GB

As Cult of Mac’s report points out, even the smallest title, which weighs in at 793MB, is larger than Infinity Blade. Pearsons Biology is the largest at just under 3GB. Download 5 titles that size to a 16GB iPad and your storage is almost gone, leaving you no room for your music, movies, apps, or games.

If you’re a student who plans to use an iPad as a replacement for textbooks, then, or you plan to purchase the device for a student, it may be worth bearing this in mind. I don’t think a 16GB device is going to cut it.

It’s worth remembering, however, that thanks to iCloud, you can re-download books that you’ve previously purchased. That means if you do find yourself running out of space, you can delete the textbooks you’re not currently using and download them again when you need them later. Of course, the downside to this is that it’s going to waste a lot of time. Thanks to their large file sizes, textbooks take an awful long time to download, and it’s not something you’ll want to ensure on a frequent basis.

Are you surprised by the size of these textbooks?

About the author

Killian Bell is a freelance journalist based in Worcestershire UK. In addition to writing about all things Apple, he's one of the co-founders of the football site TitleTalk. You can follow him on and Twitter.