The announcement of the iBookstore wasn't particularly surprising -- analysts had expected such a move from Apple for months. What was somewhat surprising was that as of the initial announcement of the iPad and its tie-in with the iBookstore, there were no announced plans for international versions of Apple's e-book marketplace. Up until today, the only officially announced venue for the iBookstore has been the United States.
According to MacRumors, a new job listing has been posted on Apple's website for "Manager, iBooks Asia Pacific & Canada." Part of the managerial position's role includes being "the primary person responsible for building the book business in Asia Pacific and Canada" -- for now, "Asia Pacific" is only loosely defined as "Australia, New Zealand, and other countries." It stands to reason that Apple will eventually want to expand its iBookstore to all markets currently served by the iTunes Store, but as MacRumors notes, no job postings have yet appeared for Europe, Asia, or other regions.
Considering how prohibitively expensive paper books are here in New Zealand, I'm greatly looking forward to the launch of the iBookstore. In the US, ebooks generally aren't priced competitively compared to their paper cousins (something I've never been able to comprehend), but in the South Pacific, ebooks are very attractive alternatives to paperbacks, which can cost upwards of NZ$20 each. Once the iBookstore makes it down here, Apple has at least one guaranteed customer -- as long as the iBookstore isn't restricted solely to the iPad, that is.