Apple Upgrades iWork, Gives ePub Format a Boost

It is pretty clear by now that Apple’s iWork (s aapl) productivity suite is an acquired taste. But soon, folks who are interested in publishing their content in the ePub format — an open eBook standard — might just develop a taste for it. Apple today released a new update to the iWork suite that makes it simple to export documents in the ePub format, allowing them to be read easily on Apple’s iBooks app for iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

In the early days, iTunes was a way to manage music libraries and for music playback. Over time, it became a standard digital music player, which helped with the sales by the iTunes store. In a similar vein, Apple is trying to get more folks to use its iBooks app, betting that it could become the de facto reader for electronic documents that are encoded in ePub or PDF formats. More usage would help drive visitors to the iBooks store.

Earlier today, Mathew wrote about people reading more with e-readers. Clearly, Apple is locked in a battle with Amazon (s amzn) for mindshare, and for now, Amazon is winning. Yesterday, Amazon said that its new lower-cost e-readers were selling like hotcakes. The ePub format is a competitor to Amazon’s proprietary Kindle-related format, and the support for it in iWork could help give Apple a leg up.

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