Apple’s new iBooks digital textbooks initiative has seen 350,000 downloads in just three days, according to new info. That’s a strong start for Apple’s expanded educational offerings, but the real question will be whether that can translate into long-term success.
In talking with an executive from Apple iBooks partner McGraw-Hill, it’s clear the company has high hopes but also concerns about maintaining consistently high-quality textbooks that are published with iBooks Author. Here are some of the most interesting points from our conversation.
Apple’s new textbook offering and book-authoring software are attractive, and the idea of digital textbooks makes sense, but they are both locked to Apple’s walled-garden ecosystem. That may be fine for music and movies and games like Angry Birds, but is it appropriate for educational material?
Apple is not the first company to introduce the idea of interactive and digital textbooks for mobile devices. And the players that are already doing that are, unsurprisingly, not super thrilled with all the attention Apple) is getting today. And they’re defending their territory.
On Thursday Apple’s SVP of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, took the stage to talk about education and announced Apple’s ambitious plan to reinvent the textbook. That plan includes iBooks 2, which Schiller called a “new textbook experience for the iPad.”
Chegg, a Santa Clara, Calif.–based startup that made its name in textbook rentals, has made its first piece of software that it says will aid the transition to digital learning for students by offering e-textbooks that act an awful lot like physical textbooks.
Since before Apple announced its press event taking place this week, there’s been speculation that a logical step would be to sell digital textbooks directly through its iBookstore. But it turns out, what the company announces might not be that complicated.
Apple is holding an event in New York next week, in which the company is planning to make “an education announcement.” Many are connecting the event with comments Steve Jobs made to his biographer and expecting Apple to announce a digital textbook initiative through the iBookstore.
Inkling, the company that makes interactive, digital versions of textbooks for the iPad, is set to release its version of The Professional Chef, the official textbook of The Culinary Institute of America. It’s the first Inkling title that could have major appeal beyond the classroom.
This week Inkling debuted the 2.0 version of its software, which makes interactive and digital versions of college textbooks for the iPad. So GigaOM headed over to Inkling’s San Francisco headquarters to get an in-person demo from founder and CEO Matt MacInnis.