Apple 'in talks' with HarperCollins over tablet
The move could bring ebooks to the rumoured iTablet computer, due to be unveiled next week
The Wall Street Journal reports that HarperCollins is in talks with Apple to make many of its best-selling novels available on a new tablet-style computer that Apple is widely expected to launch on Jan 27.
Any move in the ebook market by Apple would pose a serious challenge for the likes of Amazon, which makes its own ebook reader, the Kindle, and Sony, which also has a range of ebook reader devices.
Sources close to the negotiations say that HarperCollins will be allowed to set its own prices for the electronic titles, and that the digital downloads will include "extra features", thought to include video, author interviews and social-networking applications. Apple will take a percentage of sales.
Other publishing companies, including newspaper and magazine groups, are also reported to have been in discussions with Apple about making digital versions of their content available for download through the rumoured new touch-screen device. It remains unclear whether the ebook downloads would be handled by a stand-alone Apple ebook store, or whether they would simply be added to the existing iTunes library of movies, TV shows, music and apps.
The New York Times, which is reported to be adopting a paid model for access to its online news, is rumoured to be a launch partner for the mythical "iTablet".
Apple is holding an event on San Francisco on Jan 27, at which it is widely expected to take the wraps off a tablet-style computer. It is thought the device will look something like a larger version of the iPhone, with a 10in screen and multi-touch support.
Blogs and websites have quoted sources close to the project, who say that the device will be used for surfing the internet and sending emails on the move, as well as a "home entertainment" hub for watching downloaded films and television programmes, and playing games.