The iBooks app by Apple is a great new way to read and buy books for the iPad. Download the free app from the App Store and buy everything from classics to best sellers from the built-in iBookstore which is part of iTunes. Once you’ve bought a book, it’s displayed on your Bookshelf. Just tap it to start reading.
There isn't much information available about this application. What we know is:
- it supports ePub format.
- it will use Apple's FairPlay DRM scheme to protect some eBooks purchased via iTunes. This will limit the use of these eBooks to Apple devices.
- it will be able to import ePUB books from other sources via iTunes desktop
- touching and holding any word lets users look it up in the built-in dictionary, on Wikipedia, or search for it in the book or on the Web.
- TTS via iPad's VoiceOver screen-reading technology
 iBooks 2
Version 2 has added specific support for text books and moves closer to ePub 3 features.
- Multi-Touch textbooks designed for iPad
- iBooks textbooks include interactive features, diagrams, photos, and videos
- Tap to dive into images with interactive captions, rotate 3D objects, swipe through image galleries, watch videos in full screen, and more
- Use a finger as a highlighter when swiping over text in a textbook
- Take advantage of Study Cards to help you memorize important highlights, notes, and glossary terms
- Tap glossary terms to see definitions of key topics and concepts without leaving the page
 iBooks 3
Version 3 is significantly better than version 2 but not all hardware can be upgraded as this version needs iOS 7. The iPad 1 for example tops out at 5.1.1.
 Version 3.0
- supported iOS 6 and added iCloud support.
- supported vertical scrolling
- gets free updates to book you have purchased.
- dictionary support in German, Spanish, French, Japanese and Simplified Chinese with iOS 6
- share quotes and thoughts with friends on Facebook, Twitter, Messages, or Mail.
- 3.01 fixed a bug where the product could crash. Same with 3.02
 Version 3.1
- A number of improvements to have reading Asian language books.
- 3.1.1 improved compatibility with iOS and iCloud
- 3.1.2 resolved issue while using VoiceOver
- 3.1.3 improved compatibility with iOS and iCloud
 Version 3.2
- update with a new design for iOS 7 Nov 14, 2013
 Later versions
iBooks includes support for many ePub 3 features. It has excellent support for tables. It allows you to double tap on any table and it will display the table on a screen by itself. The screen fits the width and will allow portrait or landscape mode. The screen is scrollable to allow the entire table to be viewed. Background colors are not supported in this mode. Double tapping again will return to the regular eBook reading mode.
While iBooks reads ePUB files it does have extensions that are not necessarily ePUB compliant.
- Expandable photo blocks in iBooks - zoom images.
- Version 1.2 and later supports a new Fixed layout ePub which is unique to this reader.
- Padiliciouse multi-column layout - article. Other articles are available from the site.
- If the cover doesn't show up, you can open it in Sigil, browse to the "Images" folder, right click the image, select "Add Semantics" and choose "Cover".
- Embedded fonts will not be used by iBooks unless a special file is included in the ePub with special content. The file is: META-INF/com.apple.ibooks.display-options.xml and must contain:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <display_options> <platform name="*"> <option name="specified-fonts">true</option> </platform> </display_options>
 Known Issues
- "In some cases, you may find book pages are missing or repeated at the end of a chapter, or text in the chapter appears truncated in an ePub digital book in iBooks." Here's the full article from Apple support: iBooks: Pages missing or repeated in ePub. Making code as clean and light as possible by removing empty spans and extraneous code from originating software or document minimized the issue.
- IBooks only supports the basic XML entity references. All other entity references must be defined in the XHTML documents. This can be cumbersome if your eBook is built with lots of files. It is better to use the numbers for entity references instead of the names for this reason.
 Publishing to iBooks
- http://drivenpixels.com/digested - this is a program for a mac that will extract notes and hightlights from an iBooks eBook.