The Government Printing Office has signed an agreement with Apple to sell some federal publications in e-book form for iPads, eReaders, PCs and Macs.
"This is kind of where GPO is going," said Gary Somerset, spokesman for the agency, which announced the agreement last week. "We've moved beyond ink or paper."
The GPO began its move into e-books with Google's eBookstore in late 2010. The office also makes e-books available in partnership with Barnes & Noble, OverDrive, Ingram, Zinio and other online vendors.
"It not only saves money, but it makes government more relevant because it allows people to get content about the government in the formats that they want," Herbert Jackson, the GPO's managing director of business products and services, said Friday.
E-book sales represent only a tiny portion of GPO sales, which total about 700 from about 50 titles.
But the GPO expects those numbers to grow significantly in coming years. "In the last several years, agencies have been asking for e-books," Jackson said. "The stream is moving in that direction, and we want to be part of it."
The GPO, which marked its 150th anniversary last year, is responsible for the production and distribution of information products and services for all three branches of the federal government, and works with federal agencies to produce their publications, books and reports in print and digital formats.
E-book titles available on iTunes include "Ponzimonium: How Scam Artists are Ripping Off America," written by a member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to warn about the dangers of financial scams. "While, the fundamental nature of the writing in such files is, as you would imagine, very bureaucratic: this script is anything but bureaucratic," the promotional description for the book reads.
More titles will be coming soon, the GPO said.