Apple’s Rumored Plan To Get Publishers and Students To Use Digital Textbooks

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, January 19, 2012

Could the days of used textbooks filled with misleading highlights be nearing an end?

Rumor has it that Apple is preparing to launch new e-book software. Ars Technica reports that Apple will hold an event about education technology tomorrow, and news outlets and blogs are speculating that the company intends to delve deeper into the realm of education by aiding the creation of interactive digital textbooks.

Before his death, Steve Jobs apparently decided to battle the multibillion-dollar textbook publishing industry, according to Bloomberg. The news service cites two anonymous sources that say Apple hopes push students and educators away from hard copies and toward iPads. Supposedly, the new software will allow individual authors to publish educational content as an iPad-friendly e-book, and Apple will work with publishers to digitize print textbooks.

Multiple publishers already produce interactive digital content, and part of Apple’s plan is to work with existing textbook powerhouses (even though Jobs reportedly hoped to vanquish them). Another target here is Amazon, which has its own publishing system for e-textbooks. The textbook turf war would be an extension of the iPad-Kindle Fire competition.

Apple is not the first to tackle the market of digital textbooks, but so far, previous attempts at creating a game-changing business model haven’t taken off.

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