Text books are heavy, If you have ever carried around a bag full of books, you’ll agree. Text books are obsolete the minute they come out. Thirdly they are expensive, with little resale value, as they are always changing. On another note, in some places, there aren’t enough textbooks to go around. For example, I grew up in New Zealand where we didn’t buy our books, the state provided them, but budgets meant that students had to share. I actually gave up my dream of becoming an airline pilot because I was in a physics class with 32 students and only 15 text books. By the 2nd semester I still hadn’t touched a text book and knew that there was no way I was going to pass. The silver lining was that I dumped physics in favor of art. That didn’t work out so bad for me. ;)
Along comes the iWorld of devices and suddenly the opportunity for change presents itself. The next evolutionary step is electronic text books. This has begun to happen, but not nearly fast enough. Where do you sell them? How do you make them?
Today Apple launched iBooks 2, an app for i-devices. It’s a marketplace for e text books. This allows publishers to offer text books for sale through iTunes. They could always do that, but this time, its a special place just for education. Apple also announced iBooks Creator, a tool to create your own iText books. They promise it’s as easy to use as a word processor and it publishes directly to the iBooks store. You can test it on a connected iPad. Its a template based layout and supports text, video, images and animations.
Engadget on the ibooks creater
The catch? The ceiling is set at a $14.99 price, Apple takes their usual 30% and the clincher is that anything published on the iBooks for Education store has to be exclusive to the big Apple in Cupertino. Looks like a win-win-lose deal. It’s great for students, I mean really great! It’s great for teachers, because they can even publish their own textbooks (though the lack of editorial control may not be so good for students). It’s fantastic for Apple because they have the publishers and students by the kahunas, it will only work on Apple stuff.
The question is? How will it effect the big box publishers, who make millions from dead-tree text books. The truth is that yes, they make oodles of cash, but it’s not all that profitable of late. Will this kill printed book? I guess it’s time for publishers to get into the interactive game.
What about us here at PhotoshopCAFE? I can tell you that I’m excited and hope to offer some really good ebooks in the future. Let me know if you would like to see some Photoshop ebooks from us and if so, what would you like to see?