Textbook publishers coming soon to iPad

Textbook publishers coming soon to iPad

Rick Gonzalez

Contributor

Steve Jobs

CARL MONDON CONTRA COSTA TIMES/MCT

Textbook giants Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Kaplan Publishing, McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson have all signed deals to bring textbooks to Apple’s new iPad before next fall. WCC student John King, of Monroe, would welcome trading in his current textbooks for digital versions. But King knows most people still opt for ink over electrons. “I’ve read books on PDF before,” he said, “so I’m probably not your average person.” But a recently announced agreement means that might all change. Rik Kranenburg, with McGraw-Hill, told the Wall Street Journal: “People have been talking about the impact of technology on education for 25 years. It feels like it is really going to happen in 2010.” The new digital textbooks promise to deliver a wide range of multimedia interaction. The built-in microphone and speaker on the iPad means that students can record audio notes and listen to audio clips. In addition, the textbooks will be capable of video clips and interactive quizzes. The textbooks will also offer the ability to mark text in six different colors for easy visual reference. Along with a better student experience, publishers are betting the iPad can maximize profits. In the iTunes store, publishers don’t have to pay for printing, and Apple’s Digital Right Management (DRM) means they don’t have to worry about the used-book resale market that eats into their profits. This would give publishers incentive to price their iTunes versions far cheaper than a printed copy. While prices for the textbooks have yet to be announced, Apple’s price of $499 for the entry level iPad is lower than most expected. It’s even cheaper than the $599 price tag the first iPhones carried the first three months they were available. While the textbooks prices remain to be seen, the iPad certainly wins when it comes to space. The iPad is slightly smaller in dimension than a piece of paper, and it’s thinner than a Bic lighter at only a half-an-inch. It also weighs in at roughly a pound and a half, lighter than all but the lightest net-books. And Apple reports that its battery lasts an impressive 10 hours, enough for most class schedules. Political science major Jason Jung, of Ann Arbor, is exactly the type of student that Apple is aiming for. He loves new technology, and he has a first-generation iPhone to prove it. “I’m probably gonna get one when it comes out,” Jung said. iPhone Apps for the college student: http://www.tuaw.com/2010/01/29/iphone-apps-for-the-college-student/