iTunes LP

Is this Apple's e-book trojan horse?

September 11, 2009: 6:30 AM ET

Tyrese Gibson's Mayhem is a comic book – the first standalone print publication for sale in Apple's iTunes LP format.

Tyrese Gibson's Mayhem is the first digital book for sale on iTunes 9 – perhaps an early sign of Apple's (AAPL) desire to take on Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle and Sony's (SNE) Reader in the digital book market.

I would have missed the significance of Mayhem on iTunes if I hadn't run into Gibson himself on Wednesday. After the Steve Jobs iPod keynote, I spotted the actor/singer known for roles in action movies like Transformers 2 in the demo area where attendees were playing with the new iPods and software. He had a laptop open and was doing a few TV interviews about his Mayhem project, and its debut on iTunes.

Gibson isn't the first person you'd expect to make a mark in the comic book business. For one, he's not a longtime comic book fan – he only recently got interested in the medium while attending the Comic-Con convention to promote the movie Death Race. After seeing the devotion of die-hard fans there, he was determined to get in on the action – and he conceived of Mayhem, a vigilante tale with a diverse cast of characters. More

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