Apple To Offer Digital Textbooks: Death Of Physical Copies?

The Education sphere just got interesting with Apple’s iBooks 2 ventures. Apple has already laid its hands on about 90% of all textbooks in US controlled by the trio of publishers Pearson PLC, McGraw-Hill Cos Inc and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Learning should be beyond classroom feels, Terry McGraw, CEO McGraw-Hill, “Having textbooks on iPads will open up the market beyond high school and university students to everyday consumers. I think without a doubt this will open up a learning agency for anybody and anywhere.”

Its all about Economics isn’t it?

Well, Yes & No. Physical Copies of textbooks are a market worth an estimated US$ 8 Billion. Apple, with its iPad, could really shake the market as these devices can go way beyond text & some still images. With presentations, slides, video & audio built right into the books, students & just about everyone can gain access to a wealth of knowledge that just can’t be delivered through a bulky textbook. McGraw Hill has confirmed that it will make about 30% of each book sold in iBooks 2.

With 25% of the price of the book going in the printing & distribution, one can imagine how much the publishers plan to save when a single digital copy can be distributed to millions, without cutting down a single tree. Let’s face it, textbooks are “cumbersome”. Though the pricing appears a bit steep at 14.99 per book, the prices can sure show fluctuation based on demand & popularity. Our readers might remember Amazon, the chief competitor to Apple here too, had started a book lending program. Well, its all speculation for now.

We wonder, with the likes of Aakash & Classpad, will textbooks through iPad make a breakthrough in India, even if forced?

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