Apple announces iPad ship dates, Penguin already showing off iPad ebooks

Apple just announced that the iPad will ship in the US on 3 April with internet pre-orders open from 12 March.

Apple iPad

It will then be available in late April in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, Apple says. No word yet on whether the Aussies will be sending some of their units down to New Zealand. If not, it seems like it might be a long wait. “iPad will ship in additional countries later this year,” says Apple’s press release. International pricing will be announced in April. The first units will be WiFi only with the 3G units beginning shipment in late April.

Meanwhile, Penguin is not wasting any time showing off its own planned iPad ebooks with Penguin Books CEO John Makinson making some very bullish predictions during the demo, including the claim that ebooks would make up to 10% of Penguin’s book sales in 2011.

“The iPad represents the first real opportunity to create a paid distribution model that will be attractive to consumers,” an excited Makinson told FT’s Digital Media & Broadcasting Conference. “The psychology of payment on tablets is different to the psychology on a PC.”

But Penguin’s thinking bigger than just the one device. Makinson said he sees ebooks hitting 10 percent of book sales next year (it’s currently four percent in the U.S. and Penguin’s ebook sales)…

“We will be embedding audio, video and streaming in to everything we do. The .epub format, which is the standard for ebooks at the present, is designed to support traditional narrative text, but not this cool stuff that we’re now talking about.

“So for the time being at least we’ll be creating a lot of our content as applications, for sale on app stores and HTML, rather than in ebooks. The definition of the book itself is up for grabs.”

“We don’t know whether a video introduction will be valuable to a consumer. We will only find answers to these questions by trial and error.”

Read more from this Paid Content UK story.

And take a look at this video showing some of Penguin’s iPad plans. It’s not clear how advanced these products are or how close to release but it’s clear that Penguin plans to be using the iPad to start pushing the boundaries of the electronic book.

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