Textbooks on iPad

Discussion in 'iPad' started by I'mAMac, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. I'mAMac macrumors 6502a

    I'mAMac

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Location:
    In a Mac box
    #1
    I know that several textbook companies have signed contracts with apple to make their textbooks downloadable in iBooks. Has anybody had any experience with this? I'm thinking about using it for college instead of buying overly priced ones that I have to lug around with me all the time. I'd like to know if they are common on iBooks or if the support is limited and there are only a select few.
     
  2. MikhailT macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    #2
    With the PDF support being added in version 1.1 of iBooks, you can use PDF versions of those textbooks in iBooks.

    I haven't heard anything about any textbook company signing contracts with Apple to make the textbooks available in iBooks, textbook publishers aren't the same thing as as the regular publishers that publish fiction/non-fiction books. The big five of six publishers aren't textbook either.

    The current ePub standards aren't great for textbooks either, they suck at complex graphs, code format and so on.

    You can check out CourseSmart, digital textbook service for students.

    The textbook publishers are notoriously recultant to adapt to changes and the same is true for the iPad/tablet revolution going on right now. They'll probably change their publishing model by the end of this year or next year if we're lucky. Right now, finding PDFs of the textbooks and loading them via GoodReader or the soon to be released iBooks 1.1 is the way to go. I honestly recommend GoodReader, I somehow doubt iBooks will match it in features.
     
  3. Cambot macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    #3
    Wonder what they will charge?
    Some books I've bought were $200 and couldn't sell them back for more than $50. I'd hate to be paying the $200 and not have much to show for it. I'd be guessing they'd charge somewhere in the middle and then not allow you to return it.

    It'd be awesome though, medical textbooks are not light weight by any means and having them on an iPad or and iPad version of the book if you buy the paper-book? That'd be sweeter.

    Edit: I'm morally conflicted about those subscription times.
     
  4. MikhailT macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    #4
    You aren't buying those books, just renting them for a lower price at coursesmart. Most students don't keep the textbooks, only to sell them back to the bookstore or to other students. So the question is, which is cheaper: selling them back or paying a lower cost for a time limit.

    If the book price is ~200$ book and you can only sell it for 50$, it's 150$ loss to you. if you can rent it from coursesmart for 100$, you save 50$ but you get all the benefits of the electronic copy (weight, copy/paste, search, etc) and not have to waste your time selling them back. If it's still not worth paying 100$ for an e-textbook for one year, when you can just rent the same book for a semester for 20$ dollars at Chegg.com

    So you have to figure out which way you want to do.
     
  5. I'mAMac thread starter macrumors 6502a

    I'mAMac

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Location:
    In a Mac box
    #5
    Thanks for the replies all. And here is where I heard about publishers getting ready for iPad.
     
  6. CJS7070 macrumors 6502a

    CJS7070

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #6
    I got PDF formats of my textbooks and loaded them into Goodreader. It took a bit of playing with to get it to work, but it turned out pretty well in the end.
     
  7. MikhailT macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    #7
    But it has nothing to do with iBooks or its store. They were signing deals to digitalize their textbooks with ScrollMotion and other companies, not with Apple. It's also from Feb 3rd, we haven't heard anything new since.
     
  8. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #8
    The subscription times will work great for non core type classes where you won't really need the information after the class. But there are many books, especially in the medical field, that I have kept over the years for reference, or just to re-study. There NEEDS to be an option to outright buy the book with no subscription, and if that means I have to pay full price for the ebook then so be it. The convenience of having all that weight and paper in my ipad will outweigh the inconvenience of paying full price for it.

    As with all things related to records, movies and print media I see double dipping. Much lower production costs for media, but at the same price, and in the case of subscriptions the price actually has gone up if you account for the books you would want to keep.
     
  9. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #9
    Herewith is my take on digital textbooks based on my conversation with a textbook sales representative this past Spring:
    • The prices of digital books go for about 60% of the dead tree versions.
    • The purchase lasts for a maximum of one academic year. There is no option for permanent ownership.
    • In the case of CourseSmart, digital textbooks are those on the publisher's website. The result is that page turning is slow.
    My overall take is that textbook publishers just don't get it. With Apple's opening up iBook formats to PDF, there is now the possibility that new players will enter the market.
     
  10. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #10
    They lost my business (at least my e-business), and I spend hundreds if not 1-2k per year on textbooks and journals. I went out and spent about $250 on a scansnap high speed scanner. I'd rather purchase the book at full price (or even used for cheaper) and scan it into PDF format. I've already scanned a bunch of textbooks and they look great, and I own them forever.
     
  11. undrpsi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gastonia, NC
    #11
    Yeah, my wife is a nursing student and I got her a nice netbook last year specifically for her text books. Once we got into it we found out that they are not cheaper than hard copies. The licensing is vague as to ownership also. For example one of her anatomy books is $300 new, $225 used (college store), and $295 for electronic.

    Not ready for primtime yet...
     
  12. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #12
    I don't know about that specific book, but there is a $300 book that is a nursing school graduation requirement. The publishers have a captive audience for that one. However, most textbooks are not graduation requirements. Students are opting not to acquire their books. Professors are opting not to require their students to have the books.

    If the mainline publisher--there is tremendous consolidation in the textbook publishing industry--doesn't get its act together, then it will not like the results. We already see that students are not buying books. We also see that professors are complicit in this behavior. Where there is no demand, supply will dry-up. In my field, new textbook titles above the freshman level are becoming rare. It would not surprise me if they completely disappeared.
     
  13. tomatillo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2010
    #13
    As a former and sometimes professor, I still get loads of unwanted "review copies" of new text books delivered to my office. The striking thing about these books is that they're all pretty much exactly the same as the book that I bought 30 years ago as a lowly undergrad. Except the price has gone from $35 to $230. It's hard to find any justification in these new editions.

    A reason that most colleges continue to require these things is that undergrad classes get taught by unqualified or underpaid instructors, or with no time at all budgeted for class development and preparation. The texts that the publishers offer come along with pre-canned lecture notes, slides, powerpoint presentations, quizzes and tests, provided free. Not everybody uses this junk (and it IS junk) but oftentimes, the instructor is just mindlessly parroting material from the publisher. The entire university could be removed from this model and the student could just buy the course from the publisher.

    Maybe the next generation will get their degrees directly from iTunes U. iBS, anyone? Or of course, they could just to to Costco.
     

Share This Page