Liberals have controlled textbooks for a hundred years. The cost of setting up a publoshing company was huge. The distribution system was controlled by big media.
That game is about to end. Here’s why. The old textbooks are about to be wiped out by multimedia textbooks. Cost per book: $15, maximum.
Apple announced what it’s calling “iBooks 2” during its media event in New York on Thursday, a textbook software program that allows textbook-makers and instructors to create rich, interactive teaching media for the iPad. As we first reported earlier this week, the announcement is akin to “GarageBand for e-books,” giving authors access to easy-to-use tools on the computer in order to create multimedia content for the iPad.
Books created for iBooks 2 can have all manner of media attached, complete with multitouch capabilities. The company listed numerous ways in which iBooks 2 authors can create engaging content for students, including multiple-choice questions with immediate feedback within the text, the ability to make notes and highlights that can be found in a single location as note cards or sprinkled throughout the text, ways to explore embedded graphics and 3D animations, full-motion movies, and more.
This is the textbook publishers worst nightmare. It will save schools a fortune.
Upscale schools will have digital access. Only inner-city schools won’t.
But how does one create a textbook for iBooks 2? Apple also announced a Mac application on Thursday called “iBooks Author,” which Apple Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller described as “powerful and feature-rich.” The interface, as demoed to the audience, is similar to Apple’s iWork applications and allows authors to format books through WYSIWYG interaction and format the pages in a variety of ways.
Here’s the good news.
The price of the books is capped at $14.99 or less (the company specifically said “high school” books, so it’s unclear as to whether the cap applies to all books), though instructors can sell individual chapters at what Schiller described as a “very aggressive price.”
It gets better.
But that’s not all! Apple brought out its Senior VP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue to discuss a new iTunes U app for iPad. The app will allow college and university students to download full courses from Apple’s iTunes U section on iTunes and view them in an easy-to-use manner. The app lets students navigate through a course overview and outline, and professors can customize their course offerings by adding office hours and credits as well. Instructors can post notes that get sent to students’ iPads and even make assignments through the app.
Like the offerings through iBooks 2, the iTunes U app allows for materials beyond the usual, boring college texts. Instructors can add things like audio, various documents (such as Keynote presentations or PDFs), and even other apps for students to use. Cue pointed out that numerous universities are already using iTunes U, such as UCLA, UC Berkeley, and University of Paris. Up to this point, however, K-12 schools have been excluded from iTunes U, but Cue said that was changing on Thursday, with the company allowing K-12 institutions to create iTunes U offerings as well.
The teachers union is about to get hammered. How will they fight this?
Home schoolers will get involved. What advantage will tax-funded schools be able to offer? Just beaten up print-only textbooks.
The last monopoly of liberalism is going to fall.