CourseSmart, a consortium of major textbook publishers that offers cheaper digital versions of their textbooks, has launched eTextbooks for iPad 2.0, an upgraded version of its iPhone and iPod Touch app that is optimized to run on the iPad. The CourseSmart iPad app is free to download and offers access to more than 14,000 digital textbooks from 5 major publishers at discounts of up to 60% of the print editions.

The digital textbook provider has launched a web site with more info on the new CourseSmart iPad app as well as a contest to give away an iPad-a-Day beginning today. CourseSmart claims to offer students the ability to access more than 90% of higher education textbooks in digital format on any device, mobile or PC. The new CourseSmart site also integrates social media into its functionality including Facebook Connect.

CourseSmart digital texts offer full text editions, searchabiliy, highlighting and notetaking ability, cut and paste and email functionality, fidelity to the print edition’s page numbers and the ability to print sections selectively as needed. CourseSmart digital texts are heavily discounted from the physical editions. The consortium that includes Pearson, Cengage, McGraw-Hill Education, Macmillan and John Wiley. CourseSmart partnered with the Boston technology firm of Perpetuating Technologies to develop the CourseSmart iPad app.

Calling the iPad a “game-changer,” CourseSmart CEO Sean Devine said, “Our ability to provide students with access to their eTextbooks from any web-enabled device is an unmatched mobile solution that perfectly caters to the increasing demand of today’s on-the-go, digital-savvy students.”