Apple says iBooks has been downloaded over 130 million times

iBooks Bookshelf on iPad

Following this morning’s release of iBooks 3.1, which brought about expanded Japanese book support, Apple has posted a press release to make its move into the country’s e-book game official.

The announcement includes further details about the Japan iBookstore launch, as well as quotes from Apple’s SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue and various publishing firm executives…

But perhaps most interesting, as noted by 9to5Mac, is Apple’s mention that its iBooks app (for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch) has been downloaded a staggering 130 million times worldwide.

From the press release:

“Apple® today announced the launch of the iBookstore℠ in Japan featuring titles from major and independent publishers, including a great selection of books from Kodansha, KADOKAWA, Bungeishunju, Gakken and Gentosha. The iBookstore has a wide selection of emerging and established authors including Shyotaro Ikenami, Jiro Akagawa, Atsuko Asano and Ryu Murakami. The iBookstore in Japan is the best way for book lovers to browse, buy and read books on iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch®.

“We’re excited to launch the iBookstore in Japan with a wide selection of Japanese publishers and authors,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We think customers are going to love how engaging and interactive the books are to read, and how beautiful they look on iPad.”

“We’re thrilled to have our books on the iBookstore,” said Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, Chairman of KADOKAWA Group Holdings. “More than anything, I think it’s great the iBookstore lets us offer our readers a wide variety of reading experiences that they can’t have anywhere else and that they can only have on their iOS device.”

Apple launched its iBooks initiative back in 2010 alongside the original iPad. And although it’s been a rocky road for the e-book platform, it has grown into a formidable player in the competitive space.

The company said today that the iBookstore is now available in 51 countries, with free books available in 155 countries.

We’re curious, do you use iBooks?