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Apple breaks into the text book market

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  • User profile image
    Ray7

    The announcements weren't that much of a surprise since the likes of Ars Technica had pretty much guessed what they were planning. 

    They've got the major publishing houses on board which means over 95% of the educational textbook market on day one.

    The whole thing is tied to the iPad, quel supris, and you need a Mac to create the content. Mmmm, I'd say that's going to cause a problem, but requiring a Mac to create IOS apps hasn't exactly held them back. Still, Mmmmm.

    The books look great, and they've really nailed the annotation thing. I can see how using an iPad would be a long term cost-saving, but the initial outlay is quite a hit for a school/parent. These things aren't exactly cheap and they're not particularly durable. I'm thinking that when the iPad3 is announced, the iPad2 will be priced to make it a lot more palatable.

    The creation tool looks polished and doddle to use, and they're giving it away for free. And why not? If you don't already have one then you're going to need to shell out for a Mac to run it.

    The start of another Apple revolution? We'll see.

     

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    Now if someone had come up with a dual screen device that actually resembled a text book you could write in, and folded nicely and had a better UI...

    Now that would have been a revolution.

  • User profile image
    Richard.Hein

    @Ray7:  Who wants Apple to essentially control education by controlling the media used to educate people, with DRM BS, and force people to use their bloody hardware?  Doesn't sound like a step forward to me.

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    , Ray7 wrote

     

    The creation tool looks polished and doddle to use, and they're giving it away for free. And why not? If you don't already have one then you're going to need to shell out for a Mac to run it.

     

    You missed the clever part. You can't sell any books you make with the software unless it's through iTunes/iBooks, that's part of the EULA

  • User profile image
    fanbaby

     2 Chronicles 10:  "Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions."

    - Apple speaking after the end of Microsoft's reign.

    Something tells me I'm going to miss Microsoft Wink

    , Richard.Hein wrote

    @Ray7:  Who wants Apple to essentially control education by controlling the media used to educate people, with DRM BS, and force people to use their bloody hardware?  Doesn't sound like a step forward to me.

    Welcome Richard, it's nice of you to join me in advocating free and open standards and platform-independetncy. But I have a hunch that were it Microsoft holding this press conference you would have sounded differently.

  • User profile image
    cbae

    , fanbaby wrote

    *snip*

    Welcome Richard, it's nice of you to join me in advocating free and open standards and platform-independetncy. But I have a hunch that were it Microsoft holding this press conference you would have sounded differently.

    What does FOSS have to do with DRM, copyright protection, and hardware?

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    , blowdart wrote

    *snip*

    You missed the clever part. You can't sell any books you make with the software unless it's through iTunes/iBooks, that's part of the EULA

     

    Didn't miss it, just reaalllly didn't see it as that much of a problem compared to everything else. Amazon imposes the same rules with the Kindle tool, and Smashwords imposes the same rule with their online EPUB generator (even though it generates standard EPUB). This seems to be pretty much what these outfits do.

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    Has anyone got a link to a video for this in action?  I would be interested to see how they have changed the 'standard' book interface to cope with reference texts; on an e-Reader like the Kindle, textbooks feel clumsy because you don't necessarily read them in sequence order and you often want to jump from place to place.  I would be interested in seeing how Apple have handled this aspect.

    Herbie

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    , Richard.Hein wrote

    @Ray7:  Who wants Apple to essentially control education by controlling the media used to educate people, with DRM BS, and force people to use their bloody hardware?  Doesn't sound like a step forward to me.

    Well, the idea is definitely a step forward. I reserve judgement on the execution. I'd like to see how they will prevent books being copied from one iPad to another.

    On the notion of being forced to use their hardware? Well that's kind of what you'd expect any company to do. What we now need is someone to come up with something better and a bit more open (and good luck with getting the educational publishers to agree to that).

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    So you have to buy an Apple computer, in order to write a textbook that you can only sell through Apple stores to people who own an Apple device and that will inevitably end up making more money for Apple than it does for you?

    I'll pass thanks.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    , AndyC wrote

    So you have to buy an Apple computer, in order to write a textbook that you can only sell through Apple stores to people who own an Apple device and that will inevitably end up making more money for Apple than it does for you?

    I think that is about the size of it, yes, though who makes the most money depends on how many books you sell.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    I think the big problem I have with it is the restrictions to JUST the iPad. What if someone comes up with something more suitable for younger children? Something with a smaller screen?

  • User profile image
    Richard.Hein

    @Ray7:  That's the thing:  I think the publishers should try to make such textbooks available to as many devices as possible.

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    @Ray7: Considering the weight of my niece's backpack, an Osborne 1 would already be a big improvement. I'd say the iPad is just fine. If anything, I would expect a ruggerized version as schools and young children in general constitute a hazardous environment for fine electronics.

    @AndyC: When you write a book, most of the money gets split between the publisher and the bookstore anyway: the author gets very little out of the deal (not even an outlier like J.K.Rowling got much out of each copy of her books). With a low entry barrier, and a potentially huge market, this could be the sweetest deal ever for writers.

    All in all, I think this has an enormous potential and the priority is to let it prove its merits (or otherwise). There's always time to fix things later and since governments are interested parties I'm pretty sure they will, eventually.

  • User profile image
    giovanni

    , AndyC wrote

    So you have to buy an Apple computer, in order to write a textbook that you can only sell through Apple stores to people who own an Apple device and that will inevitably end up making more money for Apple than it does for you?

    I'll pass thanks.

    That also worries me quite a bit. And it looks like that if the athor wants to choose the price of the book, it has to publish it exclusively on iTunes; does this mean that certain books will not be available in print anymore? If so, I can see the whole edutcating system being tied to a signe platform...

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    @Blue Ink: Yes, I think I recently heard a figure of 10p per copy in the UK recently.  Even self-publishing a short story through Amazon Kindle will get the author more per copy than that.

    Herbie

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    I like electronic textbooks, but to force students and schools into buying Apple products to use them? That's just a money grab. Why not make them ePubs and open it up to Nooks, Sony e-readers, Kubo, PCs, Macs, etc.?

  • User profile image
    Harlequin

    This is one of the reasons why Bill Hill left Microsoft. Like he said in a recent interview he and his team gave Microsoft an unprecedented 12 year technology leap on reading on the screen and ebooks. Microsoft did nothing with it.

    Apple is a consumer company, this eTextbook thing should be in Microsoft's ballcourt but they're not doing anything...so Apple has to step in.

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