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International iBookstores Begin to Go Live With Free Project Gutenberg Books

German site [Google translation] and Italian site iPadevice [Google translation] report that Apple's iBookstore has begun to go live in a number of international countries. The news comes after iPad versions of those and other countries' App Stores went live earlier today.

For the time being, international iBookstore offerings appear limited to free Project Gutenberg titles, although content continues to roll out on an almost minute-by-minute basis. Customers will likely be more interested to see Apple's distribution and pricing arrangements for paid titles once those begin appearing in the international iBookstores. The iBookstore was originally announced as a U.S.-only launch, although it quickly became apparent that Apple was planning to extend it to other countries.

With announcements regarding pre-orders in nine new countries earlier this month, Apple revealed that it will also be launching the iBookstore in those countries alongside the May 28th device launches, and the company is apparently already making preparations for having those stores fully up and running at that time.