British Library launches E-Book Treasures for iPad

British Library launches E-Book Treasures for iPad

The British Library has launched its E-book Treasures series for the iPad, with ancient manuscripts now available for download on the Apple iBookstore.

The first manuscripts to be available are Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Arundel, his notebook from 1478-1518 including illustrations and written in mirrorscript, and Mercator's Atlas. The Highlights version of the Codex Arundel is available for £3.99, and the full verison for £9.99.

Mercator's Atlas, created by Gerardus Mercator in the 16th century to plan the Prince of Cleeves' tour of Europe and painstakingly compiled using copies of maps, is available for £6.99.

The library, which developed the e-books with communications agency Armadillo Systems, will release 75 titles in HD e-book format as part of the series over the next two years, with three or four to be released per month. Among the next e-books to be released are Alice's Adventures Underground (1862-64), Lewis Carroll's handwritten and illustrated original of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, William Blake's notebook from the 1700s, and Jane Austen's The History of England, created in 1791.

Others will include The Tyndale Bible from 1526, the first English language Bible to appear in print, as well as Handel's "Messiah" from 1741 and Beethoven's Pastoral Sketchbook from 1808. Some will appear as highlights editions, due to their length, or in their entirety, with the prices ranging from about £3.99 for highlights editions to about £9.99 for the longest works.

The British Library's director of strategic marketing and communications Frances Brindle said: "The iPad allows for greater intimacy and engagement akin to reading the original and we are delighted to be the first to provide full access to some of our unique treasures in this way. The Library is committed to maximising access to all of its collections and increasingly, digital variations of books and manuscripts are allowing us to do just that."

This follows the British Library’s launch of an iPad app earlier this month which allows subscribers to browse 45,000 books from its 19th century historical collection for £1.99 a month.