Rumours that Apple's new e-book store wouldn't be available outside of North America when the device launches internationally later in the year seem to be proving true.

The Register has noticed that the UK page for the iPad matches its US equivalent in every single way except one - there's no iBooks listed. We contacted Apple to find out what's going on, and a spokesperson told us: "All I can confirm at present is what's in the press release: iBookstore will be available in the US at launch. International availability will be announced at a later date".

The reason is probably that negotiations for global deals on content take considerably longer than sorting things out in just one market.  Apple has probably begun to work on making its store international, but that takes time.

It also tells us something else, though - that iBooks is unlikely to allow you to import your own e-books that you've bought from other stores. It looks like it'll only be for books you've bought from Apple's shop.

Interestingly, the whole iBooks project seems to be a complete U-turn on Steve Jobs' prior views on e-books. in 2008, when asked about the Kindle, Jobs said: "It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore. Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore".