Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Textbook Publishers Push for iPads

According to a February, 2010 post by vatornews, an Online news source for emerging tech, major textbook publishers have turned to ScrollMotion Inc. to bring their textbooks to Apple's iPad. Which publishers? How about heavy weights like Houghon Mifflin, Kaplan, McGraw-Hill, and Pearson? Features included in the proposed app will include the ability for students to color-categorize while highlighting words on the page. In addition, students will be able to write text notes or record audio notes directly onto the device. They'll even be able to search the text for a key phrase! How many times did you wish you could do that when you were in school?
Is this how easy it's going to be to get e-textbooks in the hands of students? I thought there'd be shady deals in smokey back rooms between Steve Jobs, state politicians, school district head mucky mucks, and gray-haired publishers resisting new ways, much the same way music publishers resisted the paradigm shift from phycial CDs to Online distribution. But instead, it looks like it's the publishers are the ones doing the pushing. It could actually come down to a single app; granted, a single expensive app.
How much will it cost? Will school districts be able to give special promo codes to students who own iPads so they can download textbooks straight to their devices? Won't school districts save a ton of money purchasing a device like this instead of physical textbooks? Many schools in our district purchase two copies of each textbook for each student: one for the classroom, and one to stay at home. It'll be interesting to see the textbook landscape this time next year. What do you think?

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