More on Apple's Textbook Plans for Thursday's Media Event

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
46,811
8,970





The Wall Street Journal takes a look at Apple's plans for its education-focused media event scheduled for this Thursday, and while the report is a bit short on specifics, it does examine some of the possibilities and demonstrates how the textbook industry is ripe for a shakeup at the hands of Apple.

Among the more specific claims included in the article is a brief discussion of the company's work with textbook publisher McGraw-Hill on a project that has been underway since last June.
McGraw-Hill Cos., Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are among the education-publishing companies most likely affected by an Apple textbook announcement. The companies have experimented with interactive approaches, such as allowing students to take quizzes as they read and hear audio for foreign-language study, but many digital textbooks have looked a lot like their physical counterparts.

McGraw-Hill has been working with Apple on its announcement since June, a person familiar with the matter said. It wasn't known whether Pearson and Houghton Mifflin also would participate.
The report also points to Cengage Learning, another textbook publisher that has worked with Apple in the past and who will be attendance at Thursday's event. Cengage acknowledges that a combination of its content with Apple's hardware and distribution "could be exciting", but declined to talk specifics of any deal.

Apple's media event is being held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City on Thursday, January 19. It is scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM Eastern / 7:00 AM Pacific, and Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue has been reported to be a key figure in the presentation.

Article Link: More on Apple's Textbook Plans for Thursday's Media Event
 

Macopotamus

macrumors regular
Jun 22, 2010
186
0
I am hoping the iPad 2 gets a price drop to $399, at least for the educational market. This would put it in the hands of a lot more students, making it the default tablet for the edu market and helping Apple to regain dominance there.
 

HangmanSwingset

macrumors 6502
Feb 28, 2011
319
209
Everett, WA
Defiantly looking forward to this. Text books are way overpriced, especially since 90% of college students taking classes are guaranteed sales. Spring quarter, if I don't have an iPad by then, I'm getting used books if I can (but, of course, they never have them used...)
 

kylebshr

macrumors regular
Aug 19, 2011
103
10
Tennessee
I hope something big is done with textbooks - I'm still in high school, and I think it would be amazing to be able to carry them all on an iPad (and hopefully cheaper too). Pearson already has a couple available through their app, and that helps a lot with my backpack load. Even without making them interactive, it would be awesome to have them all on one device (or synced across your computer through iCloud).
 

jackc

macrumors 65816
Oct 19, 2003
1,490
0
Textbook publishers are making big bucks with locked-in markets, they're not going to give it up so easy. I'm prepared to be unimpressed -- yes, I know, too cynical.

Some rich dudes who want to donate for education need to fund a project to create open-access quality material. (I know there is some of that already.)
 

Charliebrwn1209

macrumors newbie
Dec 24, 2011
3
0
Orlando, FL
Does anyone know if there will be a live stream so I don't have to follow a live blog? I'm very excited about this announcement cause I bought all eTextbooks this semester and I want to see how they can improve.
 

damir00

macrumors 6502a
Oct 30, 2011
744
7
Textbook publishers are making big bucks with locked-in markets, they're not going to give it up so easy. I'm prepared to be unimpressed -- yes, I know, too cynical.
Not too cynical at all. The way unis, profs and publishers milk the higher-ed market is terrible. It's going to be tough to crack that nut...
 

Navdakilla

macrumors 65816
Feb 3, 2011
1,100
13
Canada
Just when I thought I could get away with getting all my books online and having them on my iPad . . .

3 of my profs said it's going to be a open book midterm and final, no electronic devices, meaning I have to actually buy the hardcover book
womp womp
 

JonneyGee

macrumors 6502
Jun 8, 2011
347
1,204
Nashville, TN
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/9A405)

Just when I thought I could get away with getting all my books online and having them on my iPad . . .

3 of my profs said it's going to be a open book midterm and final, no electronic devices, meaning I have to actually buy the hardcover book
womp womp
---
So use your iPad most of the time and check out a hard copy from the library for the exam. :)
 

0007776

Suspended
Jul 11, 2006
6,474
8,053
Somewhere
Textbook publishers are making big bucks with locked-in markets, they're not going to give it up so easy. I'm prepared to be unimpressed -- yes, I know, too cynical.
Considering you can't sell used ebooks, I can see textbook publishers selling books for a bit less than hardcopies since your only option is to buy from them. I'm sure used hardcopies will be a better deal still but as new editions come out they might become harder and harder to find.
 

Sakic10

macrumors member
Mar 25, 2011
74
0
Calgary, Alberta
Textbooks are the biggest rip off in the history of rip offs.

Since I started post secondary 3 years ago, EVERY single text book I used has a "new" (and I use that term extremely lightly) edition since I bought the book. Including ones from last semester!

Such a joke, I will never buy a new book again (until I'm of course going to be forced to)
 

malman89

macrumors 68000
May 29, 2011
1,651
6
Michigan
Considering you can't sell used ebooks, I can see textbook publishers selling books for a bit less than hardcopies since your only option is to buy from them. I'm sure used hardcopies will be a better deal still but as new editions come out they might become harder and harder to find.
Then it just opens it up to piracy issues - especially if they're more like electric versions of books instead of interactive books. You can find most any book you want online for free in pdf/epub/whatever format you want.
 

sergey19

macrumors member
Oct 13, 2010
96
0
My high school provides textbooks for us by lending them out. However, this means that we can't write in them and have to return them at the end of the year. It is awesome that we don't have to buy them but it makes life extremely difficult at the end of the school year when you have to run around school, returning textbooks to different teachers and having them sign a sheet of paper saying that you've returned everything (this happens during final exams so it is a bit hectic as teachers don't want to be bothered while grading exams and students are also busy).

What I am saying is that it would be really cool if Apple introduced some kind of a feature in iBooks where schools could 'lend out' books to students and then it would be very simple to return them. Also, the digital aspect would help because we would be able to write right in them.
 

JHankwitz

macrumors 68000
Oct 31, 2005
1,907
58
Wisconsin
Since I started post secondary 3 years ago, EVERY single text book I used has a "new" (and I use that term extremely lightly) edition since I bought the book. Including ones from last semester!
Since knowledge doubles every three years, every textbook is being rendered obsolete on a regular basis. By the time you're a Senior, everything you learned as a Freshman is history.
 

KnightWRX

macrumors Pentium
Jan 28, 2009
15,046
4
Quebec, Canada
So use your iPad most of the time and check out a hard copy from the library for the exam. :)
Could be a problem if everyone moves to electronic textbooks. Imagine 30 students trying to check out the 3 copies from the library for the exam...

It's quite understandable that a networked electronic device wouldn't be allowed for an exam. Anyway, call me old fashionned, but I like having an actual paper book as a reference.
 

chirpie

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2010
639
173
Just when I thought I could get away with getting all my books online and having them on my iPad . . .

3 of my profs said it's going to be a open book midterm and final, no electronic devices, meaning I have to actually buy the hardcover book
womp womp
This had me wondering, does this open the floodgates for students to come up with more ways to cheat? Not to mention getting distracted in the classroom.

/meandering rant

I have students that sit in the back, open their laptops, and just work on homework from other classes all class long. Until, of course, I tell them to shut the device off.

I'm sure they hate me for it, but I don't like wasting my evenings answer their e-mail questions when I already went over it in class and they simply didn't pay attention.

/meandering rant off
 

MisterMe

macrumors G4
Jul 17, 2002
10,650
28
USA
Two years ago, I asked a textbook sales rep if his company about his company's plans for ebooks. What he told me was not encouraging. His ebooks would be sold at prices about 60% of the dead tree versions of the same books. The textbooks would not actually be sold. They would be effectively rented for one year. A student should purchase and keep all of his/her textbooks. It is understandable that a student does not keep textbooks for general education courses, but it is essential that textbooks in upper-level major courses are kept and used to start each student's library. According this sales rep, his company had no plans to allow ebooks to be used for more than one year even at a higher purchase price.

I hope that the Apple event addresses these and other issues.
 

Tsuchiya

macrumors 68020
Jun 7, 2008
2,310
368
I know that the iPad opens up some interesting ways to interact with content, but to be honest...I would be happy I could just have my regular textbooks optimised for a 9.7" screen. Right now none of my recommended books are available as ebooks. which is a shame. I think Apple has the clout to get some of the more stubborn publishers to offer up digital content.

I hate my textbooks, they are chunky, heavy, awkward to hold and need to be constantly propped up so the reading angle is right. The iPad will solve all these issues.

Also think about never having to wait for a textbook to come back in your school library. Or incurring massive fees for lateness. Both were issues when I was doing my degree, I ended up buying most of my book list which cost nearly £200...and I STILL had to lug the things around :mad:
 

ToothBSU

macrumors newbie
Jan 17, 2012
1
0
Uninformed Viewpoint

I have read numerous comments tagging the textbook publishers as the enemy - out to exploit students and "rip them off". I would like to first point out that students and institutions apparently choose to ignore the fact that college tuitions are escalating at a higher rate that textbooks and nobody seems to portray the colleges as the enemy.

Secondly, the reason that textbooks are so expensive in the first place is because of the used book market. Publishers are forced to increase cost to compensate for lower sell-through due to the availability of used texts. Costs to authors, production, research, distribution, etc. exist and when new editions account for such a small percentage of actual books sold, cost for the book must increase to cover production cost.

I don't understand how students are willing to pay thousands of dollars in tuition to go to a good school, but asking them to pay $150 for a quality textbook that helps prepare them for a career is out of the question. Instructors depend on these materials to stay informed, current and relevant - yet they are quick to throw the publishers of those books under the bus when students complain.

Students today have more options than ever before when it comes to purchasing options - ebooks, individual echapters, textbook rental, and innovative new formats focused on student demands.
It's easy to place the blame on the publishers, but do your homework before making such statements.
 

MisterMe

macrumors G4
Jul 17, 2002
10,650
28
USA
Other than standing up for textbook publishers, I have no idea what point you are trying to make. One of the major drivers of price escalation is that consolidation of textbook publishers. Today, we are down to something like two or three major publishers. Can you spell monopoly?
I have read numerous comments tagging the textbook publishers as the enemy - out to exploit students and "rip them off". I would like to first point out that students and institutions apparently choose to ignore the fact that college tuitions are escalating at a higher rate that textbooks and nobody seems to portray the colleges as the enemy.
This makes no sense. The development and production costs of textbooks has nothing to do with tuition. A textbook is an enabling product for education. There are many others. For many students, pizza is an essential product for them to pull all-nighters. If tuition increases by 50%, is
the price of pizza also supposed to increase by 50%?
Secondly, the reason that textbooks are so expensive in the first place is because of the used book market. Publishers are forced to increase cost to compensate for lower sell-through due to the availability of used texts. Costs to authors, production, research, distribution, etc. exist and when new editions account for such a small percentage of actual books sold, cost for the book must increase to cover production cost.
Nonsense. Next you will claim that books are more expensive because bookstores are now built using fired brick. Used textbooks have been an accepted part of education for decades--if not longer. If anything, there is now a mandate to use new textbooks that did not exist when I was in college. College accrediting agencies in my region frown upon any textbook edition that is older than three (3) years.

I don't understand how students are willing to pay thousands of dollars in tuition to go to a good school, but asking them to pay $150 for a quality textbook that helps prepare them for a career is out of the question. Instructors depend on these materials to stay informed, current and relevant - yet they are quick to throw the publishers of those books under the bus when students complain.
Again, nonsense. College professors do not rely on textbooks--quality textbooks or crappy textbooks--to stay informed. They rely on professional publications--refereed and an non-refereed. Owing to the rapid pace of new publications, they frequent websites such as the Los Alamos National Laboratory's lanl.arXiv.org website.

You carry-on as though professors are shifting blame from themselves to the textbook publishers. The facts are that professors do not set the prices of textbooks. Even if they author the textbook, they receive what the publisher offers. What you don't seem to understand is that most college professors want their students to learn. When they their students having to pay $200 for a textbook that may have cost them $30 when they were students, they sympathize with their students.
Students today have more options than ever before when it comes to purchasing options - ebooks, individual echapters, textbook rental, and innovative new formats focused on student demands.
You greatly exaggerate. Textbook rentals have been around for decades. Ebooks, both online and offline, are new. I will give you that. As I stated in a previous post, ebooks are temporary rentals, not permanent ownership. Interestingly, you did not mention custom published materials by the professor. These are often much less expensive for the student than books from the big publishing houses.
It's easy to place the blame on the publishers, but do your homework before making such statements.
Physician, heal thyself.
 

Mr. Incredible

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2010
541
0
Southern California
It would be great to be able to RENT Textbooks, instead of buying them through an iPad. You're already dropping hundreds of dollars for the tablet, having the books be cheaper would be great too.

Like $4.99 a month to rent them.