More on Apple's Textbook Plans for Thursday's Media Event

apple guggenheim event skylineThe Wall Street Journal takes a look at Apple's plans for its education-focused media event scheduled for this Thursday, and while the report is a bit short on specifics, it does examine some of the possibilities and demonstrates how the textbook industry is ripe for a shakeup at the hands of Apple.

Among the more specific claims included in the article is a brief discussion of the company's work with textbook publisher McGraw-Hill on a project that has been underway since last June.

McGraw-Hill Cos., Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are among the education-publishing companies most likely affected by an Apple textbook announcement. The companies have experimented with interactive approaches, such as allowing students to take quizzes as they read and hear audio for foreign-language study, but many digital textbooks have looked a lot like their physical counterparts.

McGraw-Hill has been working with Apple on its announcement since June, a person familiar with the matter said. It wasn't known whether Pearson and Houghton Mifflin also would participate.

The report also points to Cengage Learning, another textbook publisher that has worked with Apple in the past and who will be attendance at Thursday's event. Cengage acknowledges that a combination of its content with Apple's hardware and distribution "could be exciting", but declined to talk specifics of any deal.

Apple's media event is being held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City on Thursday, January 19. It is scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM Eastern / 7:00 AM Pacific, and Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue has been reported to be a key figure in the presentation.

Tag: wsj.com

Top Rated Comments

0007776 Avatar
116 months ago

Textbook publishers are making big bucks with locked-in markets, they're not going to give it up so easy. I'm prepared to be unimpressed -- yes, I know, too cynical.


Considering you can't sell used ebooks, I can see textbook publishers selling books for a bit less than hardcopies since your only option is to buy from them. I'm sure used hardcopies will be a better deal still but as new editions come out they might become harder and harder to find.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Macopotamus Avatar
116 months ago
I am hoping the iPad 2 gets a price drop to $399, at least for the educational market. This would put it in the hands of a lot more students, making it the default tablet for the edu market and helping Apple to regain dominance there.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ToothBSU Avatar
116 months ago
Uninformed Viewpoint

I have read numerous comments tagging the textbook publishers as the enemy - out to exploit students and "rip them off". I would like to first point out that students and institutions apparently choose to ignore the fact that college tuitions are escalating at a higher rate that textbooks and nobody seems to portray the colleges as the enemy.

Secondly, the reason that textbooks are so expensive in the first place is because of the used book market. Publishers are forced to increase cost to compensate for lower sell-through due to the availability of used texts. Costs to authors, production, research, distribution, etc. exist and when new editions account for such a small percentage of actual books sold, cost for the book must increase to cover production cost.

I don't understand how students are willing to pay thousands of dollars in tuition to go to a good school, but asking them to pay $150 for a quality textbook that helps prepare them for a career is out of the question. Instructors depend on these materials to stay informed, current and relevant - yet they are quick to throw the publishers of those books under the bus when students complain.

Students today have more options than ever before when it comes to purchasing options - ebooks, individual echapters, textbook rental, and innovative new formats focused on student demands.
It's easy to place the blame on the publishers, but do your homework before making such statements.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tsuchiya Avatar
116 months ago
I know that the iPad opens up some interesting ways to interact with content, but to be honest...I would be happy I could just have my regular textbooks optimised for a 9.7" screen. Right now none of my recommended books are available as ebooks. which is a shame. I think Apple has the clout to get some of the more stubborn publishers to offer up digital content.

I hate my textbooks, they are chunky, heavy, awkward to hold and need to be constantly propped up so the reading angle is right. The iPad will solve all these issues.

Also think about never having to wait for a textbook to come back in your school library. Or incurring massive fees for lateness. Both were issues when I was doing my degree, I ended up buying most of my book list which cost nearly £200...and I STILL had to lug the things around :mad:
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MisterMe Avatar
116 months ago
Two years ago, I asked a textbook sales rep if his company about his company's plans for ebooks. What he told me was not encouraging. His ebooks would be sold at prices about 60% of the dead tree versions of the same books. The textbooks would not actually be sold. They would be effectively rented for one year. A student should purchase and keep all of his/her textbooks. It is understandable that a student does not keep textbooks for general education courses, but it is essential that textbooks in upper-level major courses are kept and used to start each student's library. According this sales rep, his company had no plans to allow ebooks to be used for more than one year even at a higher purchase price.

I hope that the Apple event addresses these and other issues.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chirpie Avatar
116 months ago

Just when I thought I could get away with getting all my books online and having them on my iPad . . .

3 of my profs said it's going to be a open book midterm and final, no electronic devices, meaning I have to actually buy the hardcover book
womp womp

This had me wondering, does this open the floodgates for students to come up with more ways to cheat? Not to mention getting distracted in the classroom.

/meandering rant

I have students that sit in the back, open their laptops, and just work on homework from other classes all class long. Until, of course, I tell them to shut the device off.

I'm sure they hate me for it, but I don't like wasting my evenings answer their e-mail questions when I already went over it in class and they simply didn't pay attention.

/meandering rant off
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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