The Apple iPad is taking on the ebook reader market with an ebook application and online ebook store for the iPad tablet PC, called -- what else -- iBook.
You can read books in portrait or landscape modes, which offers a neat double-page view for that authentic dead-tree experience. You can turn the page with a book-like swipe of the finger or just tap to turn when you get bored of that.
The iBook Store is iTunes for books, where you'll be able to search the ebook store, buy and download ebooks over the air to your iPad.
Once you've downloaded a copy, an image of the book rests on the virtual wooden shelves in your iBook reader app. While reading, pages get a similarly retro treatment, with a textured-looking background and a border that looks like the edges of a page around the text.
Apple is using the ePub format for its ebooks, and it boasts partnerships with all the major publishers for its ebook store, including Penguin and HarperCollins. But there's no word on whether the iPad's iBook app will allow you to add books in other formats or from other sources -- for example, a free book you snagged from the awesome Project Gutenberg.
Apple didn't specify how it would support self-publishing either, but it's a feature Amazon offers for its Kindle ebook reader through the Digital Text Platform, and it's a good way to fill out the store with budget-priced titles.