Why universities should hate Apple’s iPad: College bookstore killer?

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“If students embrace textbooks on the iPad, college bookstores may lose their shirts,” John Patrick Pullen reports for Fortune.

“It may be the season for graduation parties and commencement speeches, but colleges and universities are already prepping for next year, even in the bookstore,” Pullen reports. “Next fall, during opening weekend, students will once again file into university bookstores to purchase course materials, school supplies, and a college sweatshirt or two.”

“While the university licensed gear may seem like a throw-in, it’s big business for colleges and their coffers,” Pullen reports. “But as the higher education industry plans for a future involving digital content delivery to devices like Apple’s iPad, these college-branded impulse purchases – and perhaps even college bookstores – may quickly become a thing of the past.”

Pullen reports, “Should students demand content on the iPad, bookstores will be locked out. Apple’s current App Store and iBookstore sales models give publishers the lion’s share of a 70-30 revenue split, and cut out the schools entirely. Meanwhile, in bookstores’ current distribution model, colleges pocket, on average, 33% of the price of a new book.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Change is the one constant. Universities should be working with Apple to stock iPads – along with Macs, iPhones, and iPods – in their campus bookstores.


  1. I’m working on a second masters and currently, I’ve found two of the four textbooks available for the ipad… through the kindle app. Not the iBook store.

  2. This really shows that the writer sees huge sales for the iPads at universities.

    Based on many of these recent “Concern” articles re: flash, iAds and now universities…it seems a lot of these folks see the iPad as being immensely influential and successful in the coming months/years.

    Very interesting take from these people.

  3. I tried to get books for my son for summer semester on his ipad but the cost was still way too high for electronic versions. Used texts are still much cheaper. Until the prices get better that will be an issue.

  4. The idea is to enable the cost of the book to the student to be reduced as several layers of distribution and retail costs are eliminated. If the College bookstore was getting 33% of the cost a book, then students should be demanding that their iPad e books cost at least 1/3 less than the printed book.

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