Apple Fills in the iPad’s iBooks Blanks

iBooks is Apple’s ebook reader application for the iPad, and following the kick off of the tablet’s pre-order phase on Friday, the company offered up a few more details on what users can expect when they dive into the digital book world.

First, the iBooks app won’t be shipping with the iPad. Instead, users will have to download the free app from Apple’s iTunes-based App Store.

Since the iBooks supports the ePub electronic book standard, users can sync free titles with their iPad via iTunes — a feature that could make it easy for companies to distribute training materials and other documents to employees.

Tapping a word in an ebook will show the definition, perform a Wikipedia search, look for other instances of the word in the book, or search for the word on the Internet. iBooks also takes advantage of the iPad’s Voice Over feature to read pages out loud, much like Amazon’s Kindle 2 ebook device.

Users can purchase ebooks through Apple’s iTunes-like iBookstore online. The iBooks application links directly to the store, and keeps track of your book purchases as well as where you left off in each title.

The iPad will be available on April 3, and Apple began accepting pre-orders on March 12. The iPad is a tablet device with a multitouch interface and support for most iPhone apps. It is available in Wi-Fi only, and Wi-Fi plus 3G wireless data models.