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Monday, March 12, 2012

Textbook Case: Apple and Others Strive to Be the Next Wave in Educational Publishing


When Apple introduced a sample of Life on Earth, a new "enhanced" digital biology textbook by E.O. Wilson, on iTunes last month, the reading world took notice. With its videos, animation, moving molecules and guided tours, the book offers a glimpse of what textbooks may become in the very near future.
But that's only a small part of the story. On January 19, the company also launched its new iBooks 2 software for the iPad, an initiative that now includes textbook publishing giants Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson. All three firms agreed to work under Apple's pricing model -- with titles selling for $14.99 or less -- much like music publishers did for iTunes. In addition, Apple rolled out a new publishing platform called iBooks Author, a tool that enables anyone to publish a textbook, and launched a new iTunes U application that brings courses to its iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users.
In a statement, Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said initiatives like iBooks 2 aim to leverage the 1.5 million iPads deployed in educational settings today. The promise is that students can save money, have a lighter backpack and engage in interactive learning.

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