Confirming that it won't just be Apple's iBookstore (and your own free ePubs) on the iPad, the New York Times today mentions that both Amazon and Barnes & Noble are both working on book stores of their own. While both market their own hardware devices, the Kindle and the Nook respectively, the iPad is expected to throw a huge spotlight on eBooks in general, and they want to benefit:
The Kindle app for the iPad, which Amazon demonstrated to a reporter last week, allows readers to slowly turn pages with their fingers. It also presents two new ways for people to view their entire e-book collection, including one view where large images of book covers are set against a backdrop of a silhouetted figure reading under a tree. The sun’s position in that image varies with the time of day.
At the offices of Barnes & Noble’s digital unit in New York, 14 developers have occupied a windowless room since January, completely redesigning the company’s iPhone app for the iPad, according to Douglas Gottlieb, its vice president of digital products. The developers hunch over Macs around a big table, and printouts and notecards are taped up on the walls.
The new app will let users flip through books quickly with finger swipes and customize fonts in multiple colors and sizes. Mr. Gottlieb said the company was talking to publishers about adding multimedia to digital books.
Neither company received one of those secret, early-access iPad units for testing, so while they may be simulator-ready for the April 3 launch, they may not want to release until they've had a chance to run their apps on the real hardware. Comic reader app Panefly, for example, thinks a bad day 1 experience with an app that worked fine in the lab but poorly on the actual iPad could "kill the train before it leaves the station".
As to whether or not Apple will approve competing bookstores for the iPad App Store, TiPb's always felt that the best indicator was Steve Jobs announcing iBooks as a separate, downloadable app rather than a built-in like iTunes Store. While this may have also reflected iBooks US-only availability, and there's never any way to tell for sure what Apple will do until they do it, at the end of the day they want to move hardware and letting existing Kindle (and Nook) owners bring over their books is a great way to lower the barrier of iPad entry.
Right now, both the Kindle for iPhone [Free- iTunes link] and Barnes & Noble eReader for iPhone [Free - iTunes link] frequire a clunky web-based work around for purchasing books, however, and it would be nice to see that process actually integrated into the apps -- like iBooks and the iBookstore.
So, given the choice, what will you be buying and reading your eBooks with -- Amazon Kindle for iPad, Barnes & Noble eBook Reader for iPad, or Apple's iBooks?