Apple chief executive Steve Jobs announced on Wednesday the launch of an online bookstore dubbed "iBooks" for his company's new touchscreen tablet computer, the iPad.

"We've got five of the biggest publishers in the world supporting us and will open the floodgates for the rest of the publishers starting this afternoon," Jobs said at an event during which he unveiled the iPad.

"Amazon has done a great job of pioneering this functionality with the Kindle," Jobs said. "We are going to stand on their shoulders."

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