One of the main new features introduced with Apple's iPad tablet computer is its iBooks application which turns the machine into an eBook reader, good enough to rival established devices such as Amazon's Kindle and Sony's Reader. However, it now appears that this application will not be available to consumers outside the US.
As first spotted by PadNewsNetwork, there is a small footnote on the iPad website that states "iBooks is available only in the U.S." Whether this is only a temporary issue whilst Apple negotiates licensing deals with other publishers worldwide remains to be seen, but it could have a large impact on sales of the device internationally as many will want to buy it for its eBook functionality.
Apple's iBooks and the iBookstore will work in a similar way to iTunes and the iTunes Store, where the publishers of content split the profits with Apple in various agreed deals, which also vary from region to region. Because iBooks will use the open ePub format - which is available from plenty of other vendors - there is the possibility that in areas outside the US customers will still be able to use the iBooks app with content that they have acquired from elsewhere, although it is likely that Apple will put some form of DRM (Digital Rights Management) on books bought from the iBookstore.