Textbook companies strike publishing deal for iPad

Relying on the hope that the iPad will appeal to current students, the Wall Street Journal reported today that major textbook publishers have struck deals with software company ScrollMotion Inc. in order to adapt their textbooks for Apple's new device.

Rik Kranenburg, the current group president of higher education for the education sector of McGraw-Hill Cos. said, "People have been talking about the impact of technology on education for 25 years. It feels like it is really going to happen in 2010."

Other publishers that hope to bring their works to the iPad include Houghton Mifflin Harcourt K-12, Pearson Education, and Kaplan Inc.

ScrollMotion has already developed applications for Apple's iPhone and iPod touch, including formatting e-books for both devices. ScrollMotion takes digital files provided by publishers for the iPad, adapts them to fit on the device, and then adds enhancements such as a search function, dictionaries, glossaries, interactive quizzes and page numbers. The features of its iPad deal with publishers include applications to let students play video, highlight text, record lectures, take printed notes, search the text, and participate in interactive quizzes to test how much they've learned and where they may need more work.

This is a major gamble from Apple, as they are entering a field that is already dominated by netbooks and e-readers like the Amazon Kindle. Jeanne Hayes, an educational consultant in Littleton, Colo sums this issue up best when she said, "the iPad's lower-than-expected entry-level price of $499 will interest schools, but some of them may not be able to purchase the device right away if they've already purchased netbooks." The ball is in your court now, Amazon.

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