TED Books FAQ

Want to buy an individual TED Book? Curious about book-related multimedia? Have an issue with the app? We're here to help. At least, here are answers to the questions we're asked most often.

General TED Books

What is a TED Book?
A TED Book is to a typical tome what a TED Talk is to a traditional lecture. It's short, personal, direct and engaging and it explains a single key idea in an interesting way. TED Books are short electronic books of 10,000-25,000 words. Most of them can be read in a single sitting of a half hour or 90 minutes.

Why are the books so short? Why are you dumbing down reading?
That's not our intention, we promise. Our goal is to make ideas accessible. The success of TED Talks has demonstrated that millions of people around the world are hungry to absorb new thoughts and perspectives. TED Books are specifically designed to provide a quick way to dig into an idea more deeply.

What's interesting about TED Books?
They blend words with images, audio, video and social features, along with outside links and documentation to provide a broader and deeper understanding of a topic. These extras add dimension to a story without being gimmicky or feeling like window dressing. Additional multimedia features are also specifically chosen to suit the diverse styles of our authors, many of whom use photographs, audio and video in addition to the printed word to express the full range of their ideas.

How can I get TED Books?
They are available for the Kindle and Nook platforms, as well as at the iBookstore. The best way to fully experience TED Books, though, is through the TED Books App.

Why's that?
While the Kindle, iBook and Nook versions are a great way to get TED Books, if you want the full experience — including audio and video embeds, as well as social features — you need to download and read the books on the app.

How can I get the TED Books app?
It’s available for free in the Apple app store.

I have a Kindle version of a TED Book. Do I need to repurchase the book on the TED Books app to experience all the multimedia features?
Yes. Unfortunately, since Kindle is a separate platform, a Kindle e-book is a separate purchase.

Can I read the books without the multimedia?
Yes. The multimedia features can be turned off by tapping the small icon in the upper-left corner of the book’s page. Turn them on again any time for more in-depth exploration. A small gray triangle appears in the left side of the text column to indicate where multimedia features are available.

Aren't these books just transcripts of TED Talks?
No. While a number of TED Books emanate from a talk that was given on a TED stage, the books are a more in-depth exploration of an idea, allowing the readers to understand an issue more deeply and completely.

What topics are covered?
Everything that TED covers: technology, science, art, education, design, global issues, human potential... You name it.

What books have you published so far?
Check out our current lineup.

How much do the books cost?
They are $1.99 each, or you can get a one-year subscription for $14.99 via the TED Books app. Subscribing gives you immediate access to all new TED Books as they are published, and access to the currently available TED Books in the archive for the duration of your subscription.

Are TED Books the hardcover books that TEDsters sometimes receive in the mail?
No. That’s the TED Book Club. TED Books are all original e-books commissioned and created by TED.

Are TED Books ever updated?
Yes. Updates to books bought through the TED Books app will be automatically installed the next time you log on.

I love the display technology. Did you create it?
Thanks. We also think it's pretty great. It's based on a content management system called Periodic Technology that we licensed from Atavist. It allows editors to build multimedia narratives and layouts, then publish across multiple platforms.

Will there ever be an Android-based app?
Yes. We are working on it now.

I'm a publisher and would like to distribute TED Books. Can I do that?
Please contact Deron Triff, TED's global director of distribution and licensing, at deron@ted.com.

Thanks for all your answers. Only, you didn't answer my question. Now what do I do?
Send a note to us at tedbooks@ted.com. We'll get back to you as soon as we can.

TED Books App

How do I download a TED Book on the app?
It's very easy. Open the app and tap on the cover of the book you'd like to buy. A small box with a description of the book will appear; a "Preview" button allows you to sample a chapter. The box also shows the price of the book. Tap on that, put in your iTunes details and the book will begin downloading. A yellow bookmark will appear on the cover of a book you have downloaded.

How long should the download take?
Usually about two or three minutes. Books that have a lot of video may take five minutes.

Can I make that faster?
Several ways. First, and most importantly, make sure that you are linked to a strong WiFi connection. Move the iPad or iPhone closer to the router if need be. If there are other devices running on that WiFi connection, turn them off while you're downloading your book. Check to see if there are any other downloads in progress on your device. If there are, wait until they're done before downloading TED Books. Note: You can download a book with a 3G connection, but it will take longer.

Can I just auto-download all the books?
Not right now, although we'd like to introduce that feature in a future release.

Uh-oh. I accidentally deleted a TED Book from the bookshelf. Can I get it back?
Yes, indeed. Find the book on the shelf and click on it to download. The app will remember that you have already purchased it.

I tapped on a book and it won't download. Now what?
First, try completely closing the TED Books app and then restarting it. If that doesn't work, try restarting your iPad or iPhone and then relaunch the TED Books app.

What happens if I leave the app while a book is downloading?
Not much. The download will pause until you reopen the app and tap the book cover again. Your download will then continue from where it left off.

I bought a subscription on one device (say, my iPhone), yet my settings show that the subscription is inactive on another (my iPad). What's going on?
Don't panic! This can be easily fixed through a simple update and sync. On the home screen of the device telling you you have an inactive subscription, tap "Settings." At the bottom of the popup, tap the "Update Purchases" tab. You will be asked for your iTunes password. After a moment, you should see green ribbons appear on all available books, indicating that the restoration was successful. (Note: there's no indication that the restore operation has completed on an iPhone. Simply wait a moment, then close the "Settings" dialog and you should see the green ribbons.)

I bought a book on one device and now I'm being asked to buy it again to view it on a second device. Why?
It's a syncing issue. On the TED Books home page, go to the "Settings" button in the lower left corner of the screen. Tap the "Update Purchases" button and enter your iTunes details when prompted. You should then have access to the book.

But why won't purchases made on one device automatically associate with a new device? After all, I'm putting in the same iTunes credentials on both.
You make an excellent point. Unfortunately, this sort of automation is not currently available.

I deleted the App and later reinstalled it. How can I get it to remember my old purchases?
Use the 'Update Purchases' button. Because the app and all of its data was deleted, the second installation will have no knowledge of purchases made the first time around. The "Update Purchases" function is needed to make the connection..

I still need some tech help. Who can I get in touch with?
Apple is your best bet. Visit Apple Support for more help with your iTunes account and app downloads.