UPDATE Oct 25: A quick update from Random House NZ MD Karen Fern - the publisher has also joined Apple's iBooks over the past few days in a "soft launch."
Oct 24: Previously, the New Zealand version of iBooks has been a wasteland.
While Amazon's Kindle service has offered hundreds of thousands of books for New Zealanders to download, including most bestsellers, the local iteration of iBooks has been populated by tumbleweeds, and a handful of free and copyright-expired works (Joy of Sex or iPhone User Guide For iOS 6, anyone?).
This morning, books two big publishers - HarperCollins and Hatchette - came onboard, instantly adding thousands of commercial titles.. Romance specialist Harlequin also joined the iBooks NZ party.
The news didn't make Apple's various announcements this morning, but was confirmed by Apple Australia when NBR inquired (and indeed books from the publishers turned up when your correspondent loaded iBooks on his iPad (see screen shot).
iBooks NZ is by no means an ebook nirvana yet. Big names like Penguin, Random House and MacMillan are still missing.
But it's a good move in the right direction.
Annoyingly, Amazon Kindle software for iPad has recently been downgraded in that it no longer features a button for one-click access to the Kindle ebook section of Amazon.com (although you can still happily by and download Kindle titles and read them on your iPad via Safari).
This morning at its San Jose event, Apple demonstrated the latest version of its iBooks software, which supports auto-scrolling (which, for me seems headache inducing. iBooks also supports animations, audio and the like - great for kids books).
I know that some always favour Kindle software used with one of Amazon's light, endless-battery-life Kindles - and a frill like auto-scrolling won't attract them to an elbow-bending 9.7-inch iPad or evem the new 312g iPad Mini.
But for me - who likes a single device, and the ability to check Twitter or email every few pages - I'm sticking with Kindle software on my iPad. Now, maybe with a little iBooks action on the side.
(If an icon for iBooks is missing from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, you can download the app from the iTunes AppStore.)