Apple launched its iBookstore to the Australian market today, making thousands of existing and modern book titles available to iDevice users through arrangements with several major local publishers.
Previously, iDevice owners were restricted to a limited selection of classic texts that had passed into the public domain and so were legally available to download. The iBookstore represents a move to increase the digital availability of contemporary titles – saving a few trees along the way.
The iBookstore model has proved vastly popular in the United States and United Kingdom. iPad and iPhone users are able to browse texts from a variety of subjects and authors. Once selected, books can be purchased and downloaded via iTunes, just like songs. And the range of books available will be continually updated with new releases.
However, not everyone is pleased with the apparent exclusivity of Apple’s publishing agreements. Though some Australian publishing houses, including major distributors MacMillon and HarperCollins, are represented in the iBookstore, many others did not make the cut. Some publishers have complained that the announce of the iBookstore’s release today was the first they had heard of Apple’s online book vending plans.
How much of an impact the iBookstore will have on overall book sales, and how damaging it will be those publishers left out, remains to be seen. Though with the popularity of iDevices showing no sign of waning with Australian consumers, it’s likely that books will soon follow the way of music and movies to become everyday digital mobile media.