Apple Launches iBooks – The App Store For eBooks

Apple announces proprietary book store

One of the significant announcements at the YBCA media event other than the unveiling of the iPad itself was the launch of Apple's proprietary book store. Christened iBooks, the virtual bookstore is basically an App Store for books.

The iPad will come with a virtual bookshelf that will house all of the users' personal collection of ebooks.

Steve Jobs explained that the users will be able to read samples of books from the bookstore before they decide to purchase and once done, the book will be added to the user's personal bookshelf. You can buy the books from the built-in iBookstore.

Currently, books from five major publishers will be made available. This includes Harper-Collins, Hachette Book Group, Penguin, Macmillan and Simon & Shuster. Apparently, according to folks at VentureBeat, a partnership with McGraw-Hill was scrapped off at the last minute after the CEO of the company leaked critical details about the iPad before the official unveiling of the device. While the credibility of the news is still unclear, Steve Jobs has however insisted that the company will be "opening the floodgates" for other publishers to join in soon. 

Jobs also explained on the ease of reading a book via the iPad. Users may simply tap on the left or right side of the screen to flip forward and backward. Readers may also customize the font to suit their reading style. 

You can checkout the hands-on video of iBooks below:

We're assuming that iBooks and the ebooks bought from the iBookstore will also be available on the iPhone when Apple releases the next version of iPhone OS.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon reacts to the fresh competition from Apple. Will we see a drop in Kindle prices soon? Please tell us your thoughts. 

[via VentureBeat, Engadget]