What did happen is that I was reading one of the PDFs and the next time I opened it, the Book app was frozen. So, I shut off the ipad. When I turned it back on, I realized that I went from 130 PDFs to 4 losing nearly everything. Luckily, about 105 of the PDFs were on my iphone. So, I quickly bought more iCloud storage and transferred that there and then those PDFs were now back to my ipad, but I did lose 25 or so documents. I would really like to get these back and I do not know which ones I lost.

I tried all kinds of remedies I found on the web - including one that worked after an IOS update that zapped my PDFs a couple months back (no IOS update this time):


There have been a few other ideas tossed around, like deleting the Books app and reinstalling it - that failed too.

Oh - and today my 105 documents became 95.

Very trumping irritating!

I am pretty bearish on a solution as many people appear to have this problem and have posted about it with some solutions that worked for them, but none of which worke for me on this cut.

Not sure why such a monumental bug is so difficult for Apple to handle.

PS: Another thing worth mentioning is that when I re-downloaded one of the missing PDFs (Actually, the one that was frozen), the document ended up in the correct folder in my collection and when I opened it, it was on the page I was last looking at - so Book still has some kind of memory of the PDF - I just hope that it can eventually make all the missing PDFs - reappear. It is very scary to me that I cannot trust the Book app - or even iCloud - after all, the 105 documents that became 95 today were theoretically on iCloud!

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    Re: This being so difficult to fix. I worked at Apple for a while. Most likely one guy wrote iBooks during the course of a month, then was assigned to something higher priority. Anybody who proves themselves is immediately assigned to high priority project and kept so busy that they never get to look back or even assist the poor intern or junior engineer who gets assigned their bugs. Then, the guy who finally learns that code base and addresses a few RADAR gets re-assigned and ... May 8, 2019 at 23:29
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    @Bill-Smith - very plausible explanation. I have seen development cycles and this is very believable. I guess book is simply very low priority relative to other revenue generators. May 9, 2019 at 16:47

2 Answers 2


I've had the same problem. One of my friends gave me a slew of books in ePub and PDF format. Most of them are crap, but a few I really hoped to read. The only thing that has saved me is that I have iCloud backups of my iPad Pro.

I've also been able to recover a few by syncing with my Mac, then opening Books and going to Collections->PDFs. Then I had to manually get them back onto my iPad Pro.

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Whoa! Suddenly they all are there. I re-authenticated on my Mac (entered my iCloud password) and everything popped up.

I don't know if we have the same issue, but it just might work for you too. Try logging out of and back into iCloud!

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    Yes...I tried this too based on another recommendation I saw a week ago. It didn't work :-( That said, the 105 documents that dropped to 95 as I mention above - at least it decided to become 105 again! Very frustrating! Stochastic books! Maybe you have the book...maybe you don't! May 8, 2019 at 16:46
  • I'm somewhat shocked that a large number of mine suddenly appeared after that last authentication. Have you tried to view the files from a Mac connected to your iCloud account? Try viewing your iCloud Drive from the Finder and search for PDF's and/or ePub's. I suspect they aren't "lost", just that Books lost the reference to them. Otherwise, mine wouldn't have just popped up. I know it's frustrating, but their must be a rational explanation for their stochastic presence. May 8, 2019 at 18:17
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    thx. I don't have a Mac. I also agree that they are likely not lost because, as I state above, after re-downloading a missing pdf after a search on the web, the pdf lands in the correct folder and opening it brings me to the page I was on. I just have to figure out how to trigger the memory of all my pdfs! May 9, 2019 at 16:46
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    Didn't solve my problem, but it may solve somebody's and don't want the bounty points to go to waste...so... May 14, 2019 at 8:19

When I had this problem, my pdf books collection suddenly disappear and my backup files could not save pdf files form the book app.

I have tried several software to retrieve those pdf files with no result. Finally,I downloaded iMazing app from imazing.com, then installed iMazing app in my macbook pro. After read the manual, I found all of my missing pdf books collection in file system> books. Then I copy all of my pdf books to my folder in my mac book pro. This app saving my pdf book collection.

Hope this help...

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