The company behind the now-abandoned Kno digital textbook has announced the beta release of a new digitized textbook reading application for the iPad. The free to download Textbooks for iPad app offers students access to a vast library of exact digital replicas of real-world textbooks with the added bonus of an enhanced, interactive reading experience, some useful organizational tools and social sharing features.

The Textbooks for iPad textbook and PDF reader app from Kno features one-touch text highlighting, double-tap zoom, portrait or landscape reading orientation and digital sticky note annotation. A built-in search feature is said to help users find topics, terms or subjects with ease and chapter preview functionality caters for visual page navigation and direct jumping to a desired location. There's also a specially developed Course Manager for in-device coursework organization and the application also allows students to share social and learning features with study buddies - of whom they can ask questions, post comments to, or share their location with.

Having partnered with leading publishers, Kno gives students access to over 70,000 eTextbooks at up to 50 percent cheaper than the list price. The digital versions of real-world reference works follow the same page numbering and chapter naming/location conventions as their often huge and heavy physical counterparts. They also benefit from the same diagrams and photographs but offer the interactive advantages that only a digital platform can offer.

The company says that this beta release is for U.S. iPad owners only, with international availability and other tablet computer platform versions to be advised. The Textbooks app is available for download directly from Kno or from Apple's iTunes store.