Apple introduces iBooks 2 e-Textbook program

Here we go again.

Just when you think you are catching up with Apple…..

In a move they are characterizing as “reinventing the textbook”, Apple introduced iBooks 2.

Saying that there were 1.5 million iPads currently in use in Education (using 20,000 specific apps), the revamped electronic book-stand now includes education-specific features to help the budding students of the world.

You’ll be able to paw through content, stopping to flick through detailed 3D animated models of elements within, access video and definitions without leaving the page.

VP of Productivity Applications, Roger Rosner said that “Clearly, no printed book can compete with this:” given the constantly-updated data available, that’s kinda obvious. Still, you’ll be able to read in a text-heavy portrait or picture-biased landscape mode and there’s also the option to have random pop-quizzes appear to keep you on your toes.

Annotations is an integral part of the system: you can add stickies to individual pages and aggregate them into virtual 3 x 5-inch note-cards for revision during finals. You’ll also get the same purchase, download and re-download rights you enjoy in the company’s other stores.

The company’s partnered (initially) with textbook makers Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, as the trio are responsible for 90 percent of all textbooks sold — as well as DK and the E.O. Wilson Foundation.

Pearson’s High School Science, Biology, DK’s Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life, Natural History Insects, Animals and My First ABC as well as the first two chapters of E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth will be available at launch — the latter is free.


apple ibooks 2

Apple is giving authors the ability to set their own prices as long as they remain $14.99 or under. In exchange, Apple takes a 30 percent cut, and requires authors to make their work exclusive to iBooks 2. 

You’ll be able to download iBooks 2 from the app store free of charge, whilst textbooks themselves will cost $14.99 or less : a far cry from the $80 dead-tree textbooks we shelled out for in college.

This is another area where Apple is extending their dominance. It seems to me that it puts Microsoft even more on the defensive.

If this takes off, as a parent, what tablet will you buy your kid? No brainer…

To launch one of these textbooks you simply go into iBooks like normal, select the title you want with a tap and then wait a few moments.

These big textbooks are a bit sluggish to load, but then again many of them have FMV intros — just like the CD-ROM games of the ’90s. Thankfully you can skip past that and get to the meat of the books. And there is a lot of meat.

Life on Earth clocks in at 965MB, and that’s just two chapters. Pearson’s Biology is 2.7GB!

Interacting with the books is a generally intuitive combination of tapping, swiping and pinching. You can pinch from any page to get out to the heading of that chapter, then drag along a bar on the bottom to quickly go from one chapter to the next. When you’re looking at any page, you can get a closer view of any of the media there by simply pinching it.

Taking notes is as easy as long-tapping on any word and then dragging your finger across. The highlight is created and you can then type additional notes on top of that. Once that’s done, you can aggregate all your notes together and make flashcards, even have definitions on one side and key terms on the other.

There is no iBooks Author for Windows, which ends up cutting out a massive majority of schools and students in the process.

Here’s some video of the apps and books.


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