iPad to Offer 30,000 Free e-Books at Launch

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If you were concerned that you’d only be able to read things on your iPad if you ponied up some cash for the privilege, even if that amount turns out to be less than expected, worry no more. The NDA-busting source that’s been showing off all things iBooks to AppAdvice.com has revealed another tantalizing detail.

Specifically, it’s the news that the iPad will launch with 30,000 free e-books. That’s mostly public domain content, which you should technically be able to get on your device anyway with a little elbow grease, but it’s a great deal better being able to access the directly and wireless via the iBookstore.

The free books will be provided via Project Gutenberg, which has set about archiving digital editions of public domain books using the Internet. Any and all free titles will be DRM-free, as opposed to the DRM-enabled paid content.

¬†Apple’s decision to offer the books on launch day is seen as stemming from two major motivating factors. First, Apple wants to curtail any kind profiteering by third-party companies using public domain content. If you’ve glanced at the Books section of the App Store, you’ll see that quite a few developers won’t be pleased with this move, but I applaud Apple for putting the customers first.

Of course, Apple’s not acting purely out of concern for others. It’s also anxious about looking somewhat content-bare when the iPad does launch, at least regarding iBookstore content. 30,000 titles should flesh out the ranks nicely, even if some of Apple’s overtures to publishers providing paid content don’t come through on the day.

Now when it comes to apps, free ones do much better than their paid cousins. I’m curious to see if this trend continues with books. For whatever reason, I find myself shying away from public domain books on my Kindle, and I suspect the same will happen with the iPad. Any predictions regarding your own reading habits?

Related GigaOM Pro Research: Evolution of the e-Book Market

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