Apple's iBook 2 Textbooks Arrive Today for $15

Illustration for article titled Apple's iBook 2 Textbooks Arrive Today for $15

Algebra, Biology, Geometry—these have never been particularly exciting words when it comes to textbooks, but that could change today. Apple's attempt at reinventing learning is officially online and ready for download—with each title offered at only 15 bucks.

So far the iTunes selection includes the aforementioned titles, along with E.O. Wilson's Life on Earth (first two chapters free!), Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Physics. That makes for eight textbooks in all, covering a decent range of topics but nothing too drilled down. Interesting, too, that Apple's taking its textbook offensive to high schools first, not colleges. Possibly because high schools encompass a narrower curricula. Also: get 'em while they're young.

One potential hiccup to the textbook plan? These puppies are huge, over a gig on average, with Biology tipping the scales at 2.77GB. They may not weigh down your backpack, but they're going to fill up your iPad pretty damn quickly. Looks like the money you saved by switching from hardcover is going to have to go towards a higher storage iPad.

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Apple's clearly starting with the fundamentals here, and publishing partners include the big three: McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (although the latter doesn't have any available titles yet). But this library should be fleshed out very fast, very soon. [iTunes]

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DISCUSSION

There is ONE and only ONE reason they are going to high schoools and it is not what is mentioned here. It is also the single reason that this wont work at a collegiate level.

Here is the painful truth.

At a university of any stature, your professoror one of their collegues has written your text book. Your professor, will then get the revenue from that book, which the professor themselves set the price, which is why it cost $100/book. There is no professor, anywhere that will cut their prices, because their tenure will make sure that they can assign whatever books they want and it is probably the only time that the publisher doesnt set the price. To attain tenure, most colleges want you to be published.

Also, im glad to see this being used in high schools, but who is going to trust a child with an iPad in school? Apple has gone after the content, but not the supply of its tablets. Unless this has 100% integration in a single classroom, then this solution isnt viable. This is supposed to make books cheaper and more accessible, but unless everyone has one, the digital version will have to be exactly the same as the printed version, which will force Apple to the back of the line when it comes to ease of changing content. Who decides who gets an iPad and who has to use a book?

Like I said, good start, but certainly not the revolution is being made out to be.

Also, are we going to allow Apple to seal up the education market with its closed system? Apple needs to make their approach open and public to really help students, but we all know that really isnt why Apple is doing this...you know...to help the students.