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Apple reportedly readying iBookstore for Latin America launch

Publishers operating in Latin America have reportedly received "urgent" requests from a large Spanish e-book distributor to update their respective metadata, signaling Apple's iBookstore may soon rollout in the region.

A report from book publishing blog Publishing perspectives (via Electronista) claims Libranda, the region's major e-distributor, has requested Spanish publishers update their metadata by August 30 to purportedly meet Apple iBookstore standards.

Libranda, which is owned in part by the "Big Three" Spanish publishing houses Planeta, Random House Mondadori, and Santillana, reportedly did not comment on when the iBookstore would launch but the blog notes the distributor began sending out requests in July stating Apple would allow only U.S. dollars, British pounds and Mexican pesos as accepted currencies. The stipulation may cause problems with other online stores selling e-books from Libranda as they price content using local currencies like Brazil's real.

“We are already selling our e-books in Argentine and Colombian pesos, and this clause imposed by Apple means a terrible complication at metadata level,” said an unnamed source. “We are working in the dark with nine territories and nine currencies.”

In an effort to meet Apple and local online resellers halfway, Libranda said, “We have been forced to find a provisional and in-between solution in order to offer our services to publishers wishing to sell their books in Latin America through the iBookstore, while not harming the booksellers in Argentina and Colombia who already sell in their local currencies.”

Publishers wanting to use the U.S. dollar in Argentina and Colombia will have to base transactions out of the Falkland Islands and Guyana, though the solution may prove troublesome.

“We have the awkward feeling of mindless improvisation regarding a critical market for Spanish publishers," the source said. "Latin America is our second natural marketplace; we sell lots of print books there. We can’t afford not being in the iBookstore, which represents some 30% of total digital sales nowadays, but neither can we have a makeshift solution for the region.”

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Apple will reportedly be running Latin American iBookstore operations out of Madrid until it finds a more suitable option.

The iPad maker has yet to release any official information regarding the iBookstore's Latin American debut.