Apple has posted a webpage with details about the iBooks iPad app. There are a couple of points of particular interest to TeleReaders.
First of all, iBooks will allow you to “add free ePub titles to iTunes and sync them to the iBooks app on your iPad.” That’s right, the page specifically uses the word “free”. Presumably it means “DRM-free”—since iBooks won’t use or support ADEPT, if someone gave an ADEPT DRM-encumbered e-book away for free, it still would not work.
Still, this is good news for Baen readers, since even Baen’s commercially-sold e-books have no DRM, and all (except the contents of older Baen CDs) are available in DRM-free ePub format.
Second, iBooks will work with the iPad’s VoiceOver text-to-speech screen reader, “so it can read you the contents of any page.” A bit of odd phrasing, that; it implies that it stops at the end of the page and you have to turn the page manually before it will read you more.
Regardless, as Wired’s “Gadget Lab” points out, text-to-speech was a major sticking point with the Kindle 2, with the Authors Guild kicking up such a fuss that Amazon was forced to allow it to be disabled on a per-book basis. There is no word on whether the Authors Guild is going to make the same protests against Apple.
There is also no word yet whether a version of iBooks will be available for the iPhone. The fact that the URL of the iBooks page puts it squarely under the iPad category does not make me hopeful, but we will see.