Apple takes on the Kindle with iBook

With today’s launch of Apple’s iPad, Amazon’s Kindle e-book has some serious competition.

iBook, which will draw in thousands of titles from 5 major publishers, is a kind of “iTunes for books.” The application opens to a ‘bookshelf’ where users can view their library, read individual e-books and jump to the online bookstore.

During the iPad demonstration, Steve Jobs was able to download selections directly from The New York Times Best Seller list.

Book prices are still up in the air, but Jobs did speculate that many other publishers would flock to the iBook platform considering its expected popularity.

Like Amazon’s Kindle, some models of iPad will have built in 3G wireless adaptors, making it possible to purchase newspaper editions, magazines and e-books on the go.

It’s also likely that iPhones and iPod touch devices will be able to access the iBook service, although there has been no formal announcement from Apple.