iBooks2 opens a new chapter in digital textbooks

iBooks2 opens a new chapter in digital textbooks

iBooks2 opens a new chapter in digital textbooksThe sizzling rate at which e-books are growing suggests digital textbooks will be the norm when your kids’ kids are in school.

What we don’t know is how quickly the transition to a mostly digital textbook education system might happen, how it could affect the way students learn and which companies will be leading the charge.

Two weeks ago, Apple declared its intention to be at the head of the class, with the unveiling of the iBooks 2 for iPad app and the iBooks textbooks that are the first to exploit the app.

I dove into some of these textbooks on the original iPad and the iPad 2. Initial works in algebra, biology and chemistry come from major educational publishers McGraw-Hill and Pearson.

Apple has designs on the rest of the K-12 market but hasn’t said much about the prospects for iBooks on college campuses, though you can bet it will become an area of emphasis. Given the cost of college textbooks — well into three digits, in many cases — it’s hard to imagine Apple matching $14.99 pricing for them.

Apple has competition, too. Already, a couple of start-ups, Kno and Inkling, produce slick digital textbooks for the iPad. I’d expect Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble to respond in some way.

Apple has certainly provided authors and publishers with tools that can provide compelling high-tech textbooks. But it’s up to those authors and publishers to deliver the goods. Read more ……