The iPad arrives in Australia as Apple announces it has sold two million of the tablet devices since its launch. While it comes loaded with the iBooks app for ereading, users can also download Amazon’s Kindle for iPad app and Borders powered by Kobo iPad app for free.
Within days a slew of copycat tablet devices, including one dubbed the iPed, began to appear at tech trade shows.
Thousands of Australians have downloaded the Borders iPad app or bought its partner Kobo’s e-reader device in the week or two since the book retailer announced its ebook strategy and opened for e-business. Its sister retail chain, Angus & Robertson, will shortly begin its own marketing campaign for ebooks, again, we expect, partnering with Canada’s Kobo.
Responding to the iPad and Kobo success here, Sony has announced it will finally bring its e-reader device to the Australian market this year. Fairfax has reported that Amazon is also set to release a next generation Kindle device here within months.
For reading about books, Newspapers Direct’s PressReader app allows iPad users to subscribe and download easy-to-read PDF-like versions of The Australian Literary Review and The Weekend Australian’s Review section, The Sydney Morning Herald’s Spectrum and British newspaper liftouts like The Guardian’s Review, The Independent’s Arts & Books, and The Daily Telegraph’s Review.
Speaking of the UK, JK Rowling, who has until now taken a wait and see approach to ebooks, has reportedly commenced negotiations over the digital rights of the Harry Potter series.
Random House Australia and Wakefield Press have released many of their titles as ebooks just in time for the rush, following in the footsteps of Allen & Unwin, Text Publishing, Pan Macmillan and Penguin. Most major Australian publishers now have at least some Australian titles available through Kobo and are working on issuing them through Amazon and Apple’s iBookstore (though it only offers out of copyright titles here at this stage).
In terms of app-ish books, or enhanced ebooks, Melbourne publisher Lonely Planet’s 1000 Experiences iPad app is among the most cutting edge offerings in the App Store. Download it now while it’s still free if you haven’t already.
While there is as yet no news on whether Apple has hired an executive to take responsibility for negotiations with Australian book publishers (they advertised several weeks back), Bookseller & Publisher Online reports that Google has appointed a strategic partner development manager for Google Books in Australia and New Zealand, Mark Tanner of ReadHowYouWant.
Phew. That’s it. But you know there’ll soon be more.