Apple starts selling interactive iPad textbooks

Isn’t it obvious? ebooks win … Heck have you lugged a half dozen of out of date textbooks for anytime … vs an iPad???

Apple Inc. on Thursday launched its attempt to make the iPad a replacement for a satchel full of textbooks by starting to sell electronic versions of a handful of standard high-school books.

The electronic textbooks, which include “Biology” and “Environmental Science” from Pearson and “Algebra 1” and “Chemistry” from McGraw-Hill, contain videos and other interactive elements.

But it’s far from clear that even a company with Apple’s clout will be able to reform the primary and high-school textbook market. The printed books are bought by schools, not students, and are reused year after year, which isn’t possible with the electronic versions. New books are subject to lengthy state approval processes, making the speed and ease with which ebooks can be published less of an advantage.

Major textbook publishers have been making electronic versions of their products for years, but until recently, there hasn’t been any hardware suitable to display them. PCs are too expensive and cumbersome to be good e-book machines for students. Dedicated e-book readers like the Kindle have small screens and can’t display color. IPads and other tablet computers work well, but iPads cost at least $499. Apple didn’t reveal any new program to defray the cost of getting the tablet computers into the hands of students.

All this means textbooks have lagged the general adoption of e-books, even when counting college-level works that students buy themselves. Forrester Research said e-books accounted for only 2.8 percent of the $8 billion U.S. textbook market in 2010.

350,000 Textbooks Downloaded From Apple’s iBooks in Three Days

Though nascent and unproven,Apple’s new textbook initiative appears to be gaining lots of momentum — and quickly, too. Within days of its debut, Apple’s iBooks textbook store had already racked up a significant number of downloads. Same thing with the company’s textbook authoring tool.

According to Global Equities Research, which monitors Apple’s iBook sales via a proprietary tracking system it doesn’t much care to discuss, more than 350,000 textbooks were downloaded from the company’s iBooks Store within the first three days of availability.

And there were some 90,000 downloads of iBooks Author, Apple’s free textbook-creation tool, during the same time.

If those numbers are accurate, Apple’s textbook effort would seem to be off to a good start. Which is good news for everyone involved — particularly textbook publishers, who stand to make more money on books sold through iBooks than those sold at retail.

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One Response to Apple starts selling interactive iPad textbooks

  1. Tom says:

    Tom…

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