Today Apple shook up the world of textbook publishing by unveiling iBooks 2 for iPad – a platform that will allow iPad users to purchase inexpensive and dynamic textbooks for their device. Traditional hard copy textbooks are a major expense for schools and students alike – college level students in the United States can easily spend over $1,000 per year just on their books. Additionally, high schools and middle schools must stock books that are constantly being updated (and becoming outdated) for all of their students. Apple’s new iBooks platform will offer traditional textbooks in digital format for around $15. This new e-book expansion could save students money, save the trees needed to print all those new editions, and save student’s back’s the strain of carrying around all those cumbersome hardcovers.
Though the iPad starts at a $499 price point, it is nothing compared to four years of textbooks for the normal college student — which can run upwards of $4,000. In addition to saving students and schools some precious cash, Apple is promising to offer more dynamic textbooks which are interactive and could include videos, animations, diagrams, and lots of photos. iBooks 2 is learning for the 21st century. Huge textbook publishers like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson have already signed on to sell books in the iBookstore already.
Apple’s late founder Steve Jobs envisioned digital textbooks in the late 1980’s, and his decades-old dream is finally coming true. “Education is deep in Apple’s DNA and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet. With 1.5 million iPads already in use in education institutions, including over 1,000 one-to-one deployments, iPad is rapidly being adopted by schools across the US and around the world,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Now with iBooks 2 for iPad, students have a more dynamic, engaging and truly interactive way to read and learn, using the device they already love.” In addition to iBooks 2, Apple today unveiled the free iBooks Author, that allows anyone to create their very own e-book and publish it without cutting down a single tree.
Via IB Times