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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No, damn it. Why can't we have an application that runs on Windows Tablets so I can get my books on there. I do not want to have to buy an iPad to get digital books, and cary around my tablet pc that I take notes with. How can I annotate my books on the iPad with the lack of stylus?

Exactly. And uhhhh if schools buy this, why should we pay taxes anymore? Schools say they're out of money, so I would hope they don't waste money on an iPad.

But I'm sure we'll be able to access the books on PC's too. Someone will make that work. Anything's possible on a PC, we're not locked down by Apple :P

ObiWanToby said,
. How can I annotate my books on the iPad with the lack of stylus?

I assume that you touch the place in the text where you want to make a note and then you type the note on the touch keyboard. You should be able to do voice notes too if there's a mic.

At least that's how it SHOULD work. 8P

eReaders and tablet PC's have been around for years. But textbook publishers jump on the marketing opportunity as soon as Apple comes out with a mediocre knock-off? I guess people really will flock to anything bearing the Apple name.

almighty skeptic said,
eReaders and tablet PC's have been around for years. But textbook publishers jump on the marketing opportunity as soon as Apple comes out with a mediocre knock-off? I guess people really will flock to anything bearing the Apple name.

Even though the device itself, is ****. The operating system it runs, is very powerful and flexible. The multi-touch gestures are mind-blowing. I think many of you do not understand that Apple is the leader in multi-touch right now. They have really made great multi-touch innovations. Like opening a photo album, you pinch it to take a peek at the photos in the album, and continue doing it to completely open it, or you pinch back in to put them back. It is so better than Windows Mobile's multi-touch gesture-less. The operating system on the iPad is leading the way with these new multi-touch gestures and these apps that simulate books, it just makes it so much more fun. And at the end of the day, the end-user wants a good experience that comes alive. Just because none of you enjoy the iPad because it's a large iPod Touch doesn't mean it is not a good teaching tool, or a good racing experience. The operating system that runs on these devices is what makes Apple in the lead.

It makes me laugh at how you all thought Mac OS X Snow Leopard would run on the iPad, wow, that's the screw-up right there. Putting some full-blown OS on there and just paint it pretty, that is the biggest rip-off I have ever heard of. This runs the iPhone OS because it needed a unique interface system-wide, not some painting that as soon as you tapped on Safari, you could download apps that made it look distorted and not touch-friendly.

Yes, people do flock to Apple. Why? Because they learned that all those developers got paid big-time, and all those times they said nobody would buy the iPhone, they were completely wrong. They know now to believe in every product Apple makes as a great success to tether on to. :)

Electric Jolt said,

Even though the device itself, is ****. The operating system it runs, is very powerful and flexible. The multi-touch gestures are mind-blowing. I think many of you do not understand that Apple is the leader in multi-touch right now.

Holy cow, really? Do you really believe this spout of insanity?

The OS on the iPhone is comperable to WinCE from 1996, there is NOTHING magical or 'good' about it. (WinCE in 1996 was a 32bit multi-tasking OS BTW)

As for the 'gestures', Apple gets your love for them? Go look up Multi-touch TED. (Do it.) The gestures Apple adapted for the iPhone were 'stolen/taken' directly from the TED presentation, including the made up 'concepts' the team worked out just before the demonstration. Apple gives them no credit, even though they admit their MULTI-TOUCH development didn't start until long after seeing it at the TED conference.

As for other OSes, that work with Mulit-Touch, I would put a Zune HD up to any iPhone/iPad/iPodTouch for usability, multi-touch features, and intelligence of the multi-touch features and recognition system. It even discerns pressure and uses pressure information in the formulas for sensing how to navigate the Interface for what to click and the physics of the display response. Which makes it extremely accurate when clicking something only a couple of pixels big on a zoomed out web page. (ZuneHD is running an older version of WinCE/WinMo BTW.)

As for high level OSes, people really need to go to Frys or BestBuy and try a touch based tablet or PC running Windows7. After about 10 seconds you will wonder why you even liked the name Apple. Not only does Win7 do multi-touch and gestures and do them well, its API set expands to respond to touch point 'sizes' and 'images' to detect objects like the SURFACE computer, as well as natively handle 50 points of input at a time.

Right now the most advanced 'touch' OS is Windows7. Right now the most advaned 'tablet/pen' OS is Windows7. Right now the most advanced 'voice command/dictation' OS is Windows7.

So tell us again why Apple is the UI leader by copying a TED conference presentation? Microsoft, unlike Apple, has prior art and active research on multi-touch and touch before the TED conference, which is why MS wasn't scared of Apple's iPhone multi-touch patents when they made the Zune HD, as they know if Apple shoved MS on it, they could pop Apple's right to even use the technology.

Edited by thenetavenger, Feb 4 2010, 9:55pm :

thenetavenger said,

Holy cow, really? Do you really believe this spout of insanity?

Apple is good at making the wow factor. Microsoft really did do a good job on the Zune HD. Microsoft made a touch OS really early and it matured over the years, they also did a fantastic job on Microsoft Surface. Those multi-touch gestures blew me away in the YouTube video I saw. I was furious Apple didn't have a camera in the iPod Touch 3G. That is one of the reasons I got the Zune HD. But it was a small reason why, and I get more glad I got the Zune HD everyday. Why? Because the screen sucks on the iPhone 3G I got, and it did on the iPod Touch 2G I had. The color is sucked out especially with the big light bulb on, it makes the black look like a bright purple almost. The Zune HD is the way to go with it's OLED screen, and the speed is incredible. I'm not falling for that expensive POS Apple made. But everybody else will, I facepalm every time I hear somebody in my school say, "I thought Windows was weak and Mac was awesome.".

I like Apple, but not their marketing with them against everybody else. I do not like their expensive priced cheap hardware. But they do one good thing, and that is innovate. I like the iPhone OS, I like how I can jailbreak it and make it my very own iPhone with all my jailbreak apps and smart budget. I use Google Voice for SMS, so I save money. I made my 24" iMac run Windows 7 since last summer. I do like some hardware from Apple, but it doesn't mean I'm all for the high price, they aren't that great. Apple could make better hardware, they could really innovate for once, but why would they in this type of economy and when they already fooled everybody?

I like the iPhone OS for a couple pros, smooth effects with no lags, great selection of apps, good multi-touch gestures, easy UI. I don't like it because the hardware and because of the lack of UI refresh, without an OLED screen or UI refresh, it's just same old. They get away with this, the next iPhone will feature a faster CPU, more memory, longer lasting battery, and maybe, just maybe, a backlit-LED display, with a special app designed for just that iPhone. This is Apple for you.

As far as the multi-touch gestures go. They act like they are against every company right now. Taking ideas for their own, and innovating them. Everybody in the market selling something knows Apple is the way to go, right now Microsoft isn't even paying their developers, they owe some developers money. Apple is still bad at approving apps for the AppStore. But they are still the best, and developers will race for the best profit. I like their multi-touch gestures because they are best atm compared to any mobile platform. I played with the Droid, and I've used a HTC Pure in the at&t store before. The HTC Pure sucked because it was a resistive touch screen and was almost completely finger-unfriendly and it was not responsive, it had to be calibrated for the person to use. The Droid is still slower than the iPhone as far as using it goes, the effects are still not up to par with the iPhone. The Zune HD is great, and I have one, I love it, and I wish I could get a phone that was exactly like my Zune HD but had a larger screen size than the iPhone but still an OLED screen, maybe an AMOLED screen. With all the good stuff the Zune HD had, and an AppStore, it could meet my needs. But no phone exists today that can do what the iPhone can do. Multi-touch gestures with a great speed only exist on the iPhone, and the Android OS still is more productive than flashy. Android OS is like a jailbroken iPhone with WinterBoard, it goes slow with the effects even though it looks nicer, it still isn't preferred.

My point is, until I see something else that is affordable and is extremely sweet and popular like the iPhone, nothing is going to change my mind or anybody else's as far as Apple in the lead. I believe Microsoft and HTC will create a Windows Mobile 7 phone with incredible innovative multi-touch gestures. I can't wait, I especially can't wait until the time I see the HTC HD2 becoming a sweet phone running Windows Mobile 7. :D

Edited by Electric Jolt, Feb 5 2010, 2:19am :

helios01 said,
Does the ipad support PDF?

yes it does.
BTW this wil sell like hotcakes, with student discount plus tax write off, it will be more than affordable, plus lets not talk about e-books discount comparing it to regular textbooks.
You can highlight your books with your finger, and add notes with the keyboard.
I saw a demo on the web somewhere and it works great.
But I bet you'll be able to use a hack or some emulator if you really want to use it on your Windows PC tablet... Actually there are already websites from where you can purchase electronic textbooks in PDF format, I did that last semester for one of my classes, so I dont see reason for the MS fanboys to be so mad.
Cheers
I personaly perfer to carry around a lighter device.

Euphoria said,

yes it does.
BTW this wil sell like hotcakes, with student discount plus tax write off, it will be more than affordable, plus lets not talk about e-books discount comparing it to regular textbooks.

Theres no way the cost of eBooks and an iPad is cheaper than textbooks, pen and paper.

Edited by Gally, Feb 4 2010, 1:50pm :

Gally said,

Theres no way the cost of eBooks and an iPad is cheaper than textbooks, pen and paper.

Yep, I paid $90 for a Financial Accounting e-Book while the actual textbook was priced at $150 at Barnes and Nobles. $60 savings for one book is quite a deal, considering I have to buy another 8 books plus the convenience of not having to carry a bag full of books with me, and the convenience of having all of these books on one place for fast reference. Dont tell me is not a good deal....

I would buy it if the total cost of all my texts in electronic format + the iPad is cheaper than buying physical ones on Amazon.

What about open-book exams (common at my university). We can't take communication or internet-enabled devices in (obviously), so if my textbooks are on my iPad, I can't take my textbooks in to the exam.

What if I lose my iPad or it needs replacing. Too bad if this happens during exam period - have to wait around for a replacement from Apple before I can do any study. Which would probably take too long and I'd be forced to buy another. And would I have to buy my books again?

What if I forget to charge my iPad the night before. Oh well, won't know what the hell the prof is talking about in the lecture today because I don't have my text book to follow along with.

Stupid, stupid idea. Just give me a normal hardcover text book please.

Why is there not an e-book company that makes software for all platforms, like Audible is for audio books? Is there not money to be made there? Or has someone already tried and failed?

Considering that every high school child in Australia is being given a netbook pre-loaded with windows, wouldn't that seem like a much much larger market?
Besides, I doubt you would be allowed the iPad in an open book exam. At least not with WIFI or a 3G sim, or any kind of computing power.

It's only natural that publishers are jumping on the trendiness of Apple and the iPad bandwagon. They know Apple can market well, even when heavy DRM is in place--which they need for the jump to digital. They want to make that jump.

Right now, with physical textbooks, there's the [inflated] suggested retail price and lower used book prices, depending on quality. The used textbook market is fantastic, and sites like half.com are a boon to students on a budget. Meanwhile, this reduces new book sales, and we see weird trends like regular new editions of subjects that don't change that often (classic literature), or university-specific editions that are much more difficult to find online.

If schools could ever jump to digital, the used textbook market would be ruined. It eliminates the student's ability to shop around for savings, and risks creating an iTunes style monopoly on textbook distribution.

Very smartly played by Apple. Very smartly played by publishers. Schools will be all over this. Why?

Because it sort of kills the used textbook market. If a school sells a textbook for $100 and then it gets resold twice, school does not get anything from it. But if they sell a few copies of electronic version, DRMed for a specific student, they can lower the price to $50 and still come out ahead.

Students of course end up paying for it all anyway so what's not to like?

BigBoy said,
Very smartly played by Apple. Very smartly played by publishers. Schools will be all over this. Why?

Because it sort of kills the used textbook market. If a school sells a textbook for $100 and then it gets resold twice, school does not get anything from it. But if they sell a few copies of electronic version, DRMed for a specific student, they can lower the price to $50 and still come out ahead.

Students of course end up paying for it all anyway so what's not to like?


You noticed it too. ;)

BigBoy said,
Very smartly played by Apple. Very smartly played by publishers. Schools will be all over this. Why?

Because it sort of kills the used textbook market. If a school sells a textbook for $100 and then it gets resold twice, school does not get anything from it. But if they sell a few copies of electronic version, DRMed for a specific student, they can lower the price to $50 and still come out ahead.

Students of course end up paying for it all anyway so what's not to like?

There's nothing Universities do better than take students' money.

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