iPad no Copy & Paste from iBooks or Kindle

I am working on my first sermon that I plan on preaching tonight on my iPad. I am typing it completely without the help from any other computer. I am using Pages and OliveTree as my main bible and that combination is working out very well. I also own a Apple BlueTooth keyboard and that is making it super easy to type. And with the recent update in Pages that now allows me to see the toolbar while in landscape mode makes this almost perfect.

I was doing fine until I wanted to quote something from a book that I purchased in iBooks. I opened the book highlighted what I wanted and I was quickly reminded that I can’t copy and paste from iBooks or the Kindle app. This is a major set back and very disappointing. This limits me from being able to solely use the iPad as my only source and forces me to use another system to complete my work.

Workaround: I had to use my desktop ūüė¶

I started to send myself an email with the quote from iBooks when it suddenly dawned on me to use EverNote.com This is a website where you can upload photos, create notes and have them all sync with your mobile phone, or device. iPad has a EverNote app that I have, and I also happen to have one on my Android phone. I created the note in EverNote, and then opened it up on my iPad and I was able to copy and paste from there. Simple enough but not good enough. They need to allow the ability to copy and paste not sure what the fears are but this is a must have. I can copy and paste from OliveTree with no problem.



Since writing this article I have moved on to Android. ¬†This year I purchased the Samsung Note 8, and even when I was still using my iPad I had moved¬†completely¬†over to Kindle. ¬†Apple has a closed system which has it’s advantages, but also has it’s draw backs. ¬†I try to adopt apps and software that are cross platform, therefor my decision to go primarily with Kindle was easy. ¬†However, with the recent updates to Google Play Books (which offers the same sort of options as Kindle). ¬†I’m now also considering purchasing books with them if it makes sense. ¬†Mostly down to cost, and if the book is also offered in printed format, otherwise I just purchase on Kindle.

I have also stop using evernote, and just use Google Drive.

In case you don’t read the comments, the best solution for Kindle was the following:

Posted by:

I just use
https://read.amazon.com/ in one window and
https://kindle.amazon.com/your_highlights in other window (refresh second window after highlighting from the first window) to copy and paste


37 thoughts on “iPad no Copy & Paste from iBooks or Kindle

  1. I know this has to do with them being afraid of people “stealing books.” However, it does seem like they could limit the amount copied. That would satisfy the publishers it seems.

    • Alex, I suspect that is the reason, but they need to figure out a way to allow you to copy/paste with some limitations. Maybe 50% would be reasonable? I seriously doubt that I or anyone else would quote more than 50% of any book.

    • Kevin, all of the other keyboard functions work, including the short cuts. I have not tried doing a Command-C on iBooks going to try that and see what happens. I’ll let you know.

    • Kevin, I realize that I cannot copy & paste from a text book either and not being able to do that on the iPad isn’t my biggest complaint. My complaint is that I cannot keep the app open (i.e. iBooks or Kindle) while I type in Pages. So unless they figure out a way for me to do this or allow me the ability to copy/paste then I am stuck not being able to fully utilize the iPad in a way that I think I should, and by that I mean not dependent on any other computer to accomplish various tasks. It’s these small quirks that still make a laptop more useable, but I think that if they can solve some of these minor issues it would be able to fully replace a laptop, at least for students, teachers, pastors, etc. I suppose over time these will get resolved.

  2. Heather says:

    As a student, I can’t agree more!!!! I found the exact same issue when trying to put together study guide tools. Thank you for your post.

  3. Jim says:

    Robert, I am struggling with the same issue. When you say you use Evernote and your desktop machine, you’re typing the quote in manually, correct? Also, is there a significant advantage to using Evernote vs. typing directly into a word/pages doc? TIA for your thoughts

    • Jim, yes I mean using Evernote on my desktop computer. Yes I still have to manually type it in. The only advantage that I see is that Evernote shares your notes on various mobile platforms such as Android, iPhone, and iPad. Once I type it in I just open it up on my iPad and cut and paste it to Pages or whatever app of your choice. You can accomplish the same thing by sending yourself an email.

  4. bill says:

    newbie here…is there anyway to do a screen capture on an ipad and at least import the (limited amount of) “text” as a graphic?

    • Bill, funny you should ask but I just did that today. To do a screen capture just press the main button and the power button simultaneously. I imported the image into Pages then just typed what I needed for the quote.

  5. R. Mansfield says:

    Evidently, copy and paste only applies to public domain texts, although I could have sworn that initially, some of the regular books had the ability for copy. Maybe that went away in an update.

    Here is the copy function in a public domain text:

    • Rick, I went and checked right away and discovered the same thing. But I also found that the ESV bible allows you to cut/paste. It is nice to know that the feature is there, now if they will just let us copy/paste on PDF’s

  6. Solution!

    Guess what!? If you go to kindle.amazon.com all your notes and highlights are there. They can be copied and pasted anywhere you like.

    I discovered this because i just bought an iPad and needed a solution also. I can now stay inside of kindle app, do the notations and then copy over go Evernote at a later time where i keep everything.

  7. Barbara M Ventura says:

    Thank you ssssooooooooooooo much for that solution!!!
    I was ready to give up the importance of being able to copy paste text versus having to buy the book and scan parts of it! It would defeat the purpose of buying an iPad!!
    Greatly appreciate your post!!!

  8. Robby, great solution!

    Evernote users : since evernote has the functionality to search within images, i do a screencapture on my iPhone (i am using kindle for iphone) and then transfer images to evernote. same principle should apply on a desktop/laptop too.

  9. I’ve also been trying to find a work around for copy & pasting from kindle app. I also use evernote so when I saw your suggestion I tried it out. But I am not figuring out how to do it.

    What I tried was taking a screen shot of the page with text I want. I brought that into evernote but I cannot select words within it only allows me select the whole image.

    Can you give me the steps you used to get the text into evernote so you could copy & paste?

    Thanks for your time.

  10. Kieron says:

    Great tips guys, many thanks, now ebooks on the iPad are fantastically useful do to this newly discovered functionality.

  11. Jay Mobile says:

    Hi guys I am kinda late to the party but I have a solution that is kind of tedious but it works. First you highlight your text, then press search. Now in the search box you will see the selected text, highlight the ext again within the search box and then you will see the option to copy or paste. Hoped this helped

    • I have tried this but on my Kindle fire but all does is return me to the original highlight. It seems incredibly stupid not to include cut-and- paste function on the device. Also no way that I have discovered to send a newspaper article to email and no hookup in email with my address book. If a firmware doesn’t fix these oversights soon I’m returning the Fire which in all other respects is great.

  12. Use OCR it’s easy. you can take a screenshot and then when you’re done reading through the texts, go to “IMG to Text” app (it’s free from itunes), select the images from your photos folder, and either email or send directly to evernote! OCR accuracy is perfect for me. Then cut and paste to your heart’s content.

  13. Bryan says:

    I’ve set up ‘Tweeter’ in such a way that it’s a glorified clipboard. I highlight text in Kindle and then tweet it to myself and from there you can copy and paste to your hearts content.

  14. B K says:

    Kobo allows copy and paste.
    It works extremely well. When you copy and paste, the reference to the book title and author are included as a part of the pasted text, which is so nice. To add to the beauty of this functionality in the Kobo app, a link back to the text in the book is also included so that you can go back to the source should you need to refresh yourself on the context of the quote that meant so much to you at the time you copied it.

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