Steve Jobs was not looking to enter the ebook market before the creation of the iPad. This is according to Apple's SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, testifying in the Justice Department's ebook price-fixing case. According to Cue's testimony, it was the iPad that caused Jobs finally come around to the idea of an ebook service from Apple.
When I got my first chance to touch the iPad, I became completely convinced that this was a huge opportunity for us to build the best e-reader that the market had ever seen,” Cue said. “And so I went to Steve and told him why I thought [the iPad] was going to be a great device for ebooks. … and after some discussions he came back and said, you know, I think you’re right. I think this is great, and then he started coming up with ideas himself about what he wanted to do with it and how it would be even better as a reader and store.
Cue was put in charge of securing deals with publishers, much as he did with music labels in past years. The particular challenge for Cue here was that he was given this assignment in November 2009, with Apple planning to unveil the iPad the following January. Cue said that getting the deals was of special significance to him personally, as Jobs' health was visibly deteriorating at the time. The iBookstore launched in March 2010 with over 60,000 titles, which has expanded to 1.5 million in the last three years. Apple has an application for iBooks on both the iPad and the iPhone, and starting this fall, they'll have one on the Mac as well.
Source: All Things D