Sunday, January 22, 2012
Sea Change: Apple Guts Textbook Publishing
The days of the $500 college textbook bills are, it seems, over. With Apple's announcement of iBooks 2, the world of textbooks is changed forever. Education is a hard nut to crack. There are bright spots and clever new ideas, but technology hasn't quite figured out how to do a better job than the "old ways." That's why Apple's decision to launch iBooks 2 and the attendant editing tools is so important: it tears down a number of entrenched technologies while maintaining the scaffolding of familiarity. It leaves the stuff that works and saves the schools, students, and parents money and time. In short, it stabs the publishing industry while it embraces it, ensuring that its old methods are no longer profitable but offering it new tools to go forward. Whether they survive the initial thrust, though, is anyone's guess.