Apple's soon to be release iPad device is set to get more than 30,000 out-of-copyright books courtesy of the Gutenberg project which digitizes paper copies with the help of thousand of volunteers.
AppAdvice noticed that the whole database of the Gutenberg project was available to iPad users through the Apple iBookstore without restrictions.
The whole catalogue of Gutenberg is already available for the iPhone, the Kindle, the Sony Reader as well as a number of platforms as well. The inclusion of these thousands of books will allow Apple to launch the iPad outside the US with something rather than nothing.
It will allow Apple to fine tune agreements with publishers when it comes to local distribution. The iPad will be released next week in the US and should reach our shores by the end of next month.
Arguably some will say that Apple is just reinventing the wheel. The brilliant Stanza app for the iPhone and other capable smartphones (like the Android-powered Google Nexus One) could already access the Gutenberg library.
Furthermore, some countries outside the US have their own project Gutenberg. Australia for example as a slightly different copyright structure in that works of authors that died before 1955 are in the public domain regardless of whether they're Australian or not.
Google did something similar with a rival to the iPad, giving away tens of thousands of out of copyright books. Apple appears to be still lacking significant volume of ebooks in order to compete with the Kindle for example.