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Apple Aims to Take On the Textbook Market

Apple to announce tools, platform to "digitally destroy" textbook publishing

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Apple’s Rumored Plan To Get Publishers and Students To Use Digital Textbooks

The shoe has dropped.

We thought that Apple would be partnering only with McGraw-Hill. Signing up Pearson was a major coup. Houghton-Mifflin is a plus but not one of the big four.

If we know anything about Apple, this will be a big success. However, my concern is about the proprietary nature of their product. Will K-12 students have to buy a $500 iPad in order to support the application since they won't be able to get it on cheaper tablets? Will the schools be providing these iPads? It may seem to only benefit the wealthier students and school districts who have no problem paying for textbooks in the first place.

The point that Apple is making is that the cheaper e-textbook costs would more than offset the cost of the iPad.  Frankly I think that they are right.

I love everything about this except the fact it will only be available on Apple products.  This proprietory feature is why I do not buy electronic books from Apple.  It is cheaper and easier for me to have another piece of hardware that will download the universal e-pub format.

Georgiann makes a good point about the proprietary nature of the "free" open iBook Author tool.  Read more about this in the blog posting from Audrey Watters.

I like my iPad but Apple is anything but open.   They will want their split (as with the 70/30 on apps) but I would comapre this to their assault on the music industry. It saved them but it was tough to swallow and required a shift in their business model. In the end, good for the industry & good for consumers - and good for Apple.

This may appear nice on the front end, but not to sound too dogmatic, the only solution to the textbook expense problem CANNOT include existing big publishers or massive corporations with known practices of implementing closed propriety practices to gain or attempt to gain dominance in a market. For them, maximizing profit (at the expense of students) is the sole reason for existing; this announcement is a simply a mechanism, albeit a smart one, to slip the ipod into a large education market and the long term consequences should be carefully considered. I personally hope this prompts Android makers and Google to seriously support (proper) OERs.

 I simply cannot believe that anyone in any company has maximizing profits as its sole reason for existing. People start and join companies to produce services or goods; profits are required to provide a return to the investors. I am willing to wager that the employees and managers at Apple (and every other company that produces services and goods for learning) care a lot about consumers and students. Do people believe that teachers care only about their paychecks?

Jacky, ha

What you say may be true, but I recall being taught that for-profit corporations should be in the business of maximizing profits for their shareholders when I was an undergraduate accounting major.

We were also taught that if you have more than one objective (e.g. pleasing shareholders, pleasing employees, pleasing customers, pleasing society at large) and if two or more of these objectives compete for resources, then rationally you can only maximize progress towards one objective, which means that you can at best only meet constraints that have been established for all the other objectives (e.g. to please society you have to abide by the law, you have to pay employees enough to attract and keep them).

However, you cannot maximize your progress towards two or more objectives if they compete for resources. You have to make tradeoff decisions.


Of course, some might suspect that when stockholders are a highly disorganized group, top management might decide to put their own self interest over the self interest of shareholders. In these cases, perhaps it would be better to call the corporation a "for-bonus" corporation.


In general, I would certainly agree that teachers care about many things, includiing their paychecks.  But, when it comes to technology and innovation, I've have spoken to more than one professor who has told me that s/he would not be willing to "innovate myself out of a job."


On the other hand, I've know a number of professors who would be willing fall on their sword for their students - figuratively speaking. It may be that there are a relatively large number of people like this in the teaching profession, but that's just a guess.


Two words:

vendor lockdown!

If Steve Jobs was still alive the chances would be 50/50.   There is too much profit in publishing for this to happen.  lee


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