- iBooks 2
- Partnering with textbook makers
- iBooks Author (free in Mac App store)
- iTunes U app (for delivering content to students)
The notion of “Wheels for the Mind” rolls back in with the New Year. It seems like “grandson of HyperCard”
Apple is scheduled to host an education-related event on January 19 – shrouded with a veil of mystery, as always. A new report from Ars Technica says the company is about to unveil a set of tools to create interactive e-books.
Previous rumors said that Apple will show no new devices, and that the event will center around Apple’s new partnerships with textbook publishers.
If this new report is true, the event might turn out to be much more significant. Ars Technica’s sources say Apple’s about to present new authoring tools described as “GarageBand for e-books,” making it easy for everyone to create interactive digital books. The company also plans to expand its platform to distribute these e-books to iPhone and iPad users.
Apple, who currently supports the ePub 2 e-book standard (with some additions) is also expected to announce support for the ePub 3 standard for iBooks.
It would be ideal if Apple could sell premium subscriptions to periodicals such as newspapers using the “season pass” infrastructure it uses with TV shows. It could help bolster flagging journalism, just as people are willing to pay 99¢ a song for the convenience. I’ve blogged elsewhere about the rental model for textbooks, and for at least one of the textbooks I have used, students can download a time-bombed electronic version for half the cost. The infrastructure to support this exists with the movie rental capabilities of the iTMS, and with the publishers’ provision of electronic content. (Even publishers who do not have electronic textbooks provide me with facsimile sample chapters in PDF form.)
I bet, too, that the recent availability of “LPs” in the iTMS—albums with premium content and a premium price—were designed with the iPad in mind.
There’s much anticipation for Apple’s announcement today out in California about a new super secret insanely great killer hardware. Leaks by McGraw-Hill CEO have confirmed eBook…
The bookseller will allow college students to borrow course volumes for a feeBY MAE ANDERSON, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. is launching a textbook rental program for college students, making it the newest entrant in a growing field.
The new program, available though campus bookstores or the stores’ Web sites began as a pilot program in three of its 636 campus bookstores in the fall. It has now been expanded to 25 bookstores.
I think what makes this huge is B&N’s reach. Two of the three campuses at which I teach have campus bookstores affiliated with it (my son’s college makes a third that directly affects my family). The third uses Follett, also mentioned in the article.
Textbooks are a huge hidden cost of higher education. I think parents and students so readily get sticker shock because so many of them have been beneficiaries of the public school system, which provides textbooks. Even at public colleges and universities however, no one is immune to buying textbooks (certain populations do have vouchers).
At the same time, increasing consolidation of textbook publishing houses (larger firms gobbling up smaller ones) drives frequent revisions by authors in their “stables.” Massive marketing campaigns, including mailers and the provision of unsolicited examination copies of these frequently revised textbooks, all drive up cost.
College bookstores themselves are caught between having to be the last resort for students and the students’ desire to spend as little as possible on textbooks. Effectively we already have a situation in which textbooks are often rented, but with further skimming by those dealing in aftermarket texts. Students get nowhere near the purchase price of textbooks, and yet pay an increasingly greater percentage of the price of a new book for an old one.
As long as provisions are made for students to keep particular books, economics will drive adoption for students. At first blush this seems to work for students, so I think we can expect more widespread adoption.