Apple’s new iPad will include an ebook store, iBooks, with reader software pre-installed. The device is larger than an iPod but smaller than a standard laptop, and can handle web pages, color graphics and video. Apple has done distribution deals with the world’s largest book publishers, and a number of academic publishers have contracted with Scrollmotion to create interactive textbooks for the new device. Interestingly, unlike Amazon, Apple will be using the industry-standard EPUB format for its files, which at least theoretically would make them more easily shareable with other devices. No word, however, on whether Apple will add copy protection to the files, which seems depressingly likely.
As expected, the Apple announcement completely overshadows the raft of new ebook devices announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month. Photo gallery from CNET.
The most recent deadline for comments on the Google Books settlement has passed. Almost everyone who complained about the first settlement deal complained about the revised deal on the same grounds, including the Department of Justice. Critics say the deal still gives Google unprecedented control of orphaned works (those out of print and of uncertain ownership), and uses a legal settlement to significantly change copyright law. Many authors and their representatives also feel the deal should not assume consent from authors unless they object. The next hearing is scheduled for February 18th.