Despite initial worries that the iBookstore would only work with purchased books, Apple has now confirmed that a user's free ePub titles will sync to the iPad through iTunes.
With Apple’s notoriously closed policy on content, there was speculation that the thousands of now copyright-free ePub books wouldn’t sync into the iBookstore, but Apple CEO Steve Jobs has responded saying otherwise.
Jobs occasionally responds to consumer questions, and as reported by Gizmodo, when asked in an email if the free ePub books would work on an iPad, Jobs replied with a simple “Yep”.
And in true form, the response was followed by “Sent from my iPad”, replacing his usual “Sent from my iPhone”.
Books sold through the Apple store won’t work on other e-readers because they will contain Apple’s digital rights management (DRM), but books that are out of copyright are DRM-free. These books are often digitised by Project Gutenburg, which is a volunteer effort to make copyright-free books – many of which are classics – available as e-books.
9to5Mac pointed out that this could be an excellent selling point for schools and education institutions, because after the initial cost of the iPad students can download thousands of ePub books for free, eliminating the need for schools to buy and store a number of classic books.