Apple and textbooks

I’ve been saying this for a long time: the company that does electronic textbooks correctly will score a huge victory. Why? Cost (to students and publishers) and the unique aspects of digital books.

Consider the cost of collegiate text books. Young undergraduates typically have little money, and buying a stack of books that cost upwards of one hundred dollars is a burden. Imagine being able to put them all on a Kindle, Fire or iPad for a fraction of the cost. Plus, an iPad is a lot easier to haul across campus.

Publishers would benefit, too. What happens at the end of each semester? Students sell their used books back to the campus bookstore, which the school then re-sells to next year’s class. The publishers earn nothing from the sale of used books, which e-books would eliminate.

Finally, electronic textbooks offer so many unique options for annotations, study prep, student/teacher collaboration, etc. Check out Inkling to get an idea of how it could work. Their developers are doing incredible things.

Clayton Morris suggests that this month’s Apple event will focus on iTunes U and texbooks. I sincerely hope that’s true.