Apple reinvents textbooks with iBooks 2 for iPad

Apple today announced iBooks 2 for iPad, featuring iBooks textbooks, an entirely new kind of textbook that’s dynamic, engaging and truly interactive. iBooks textbooks offer iPad users gorgeous, fullscreen textbooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, unrivaled navigation and much more. iBooks textbooks can be kept up to date, don’t weigh down a backpack and never have to be returned. Leading education services companies including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson will deliver educational titles on the iBookstore℠ with most priced at $14.99 or less, and with the new iBooks Author, a free authoring tool available today, anyone with a Mac can create stunning iBooks textbooks.

“Education is deep in Apple’s DNA and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet. With 1.5 million iPads already in use in education institutions, including over 1,000 one-to-one deployments, iPad is rapidly being adopted by schools across the US and around the world,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, in the press release. “Now with iBooks 2 for iPad, students have a more dynamic, engaging and truly interactive way to read and learn, using the device they already love.”

The new iBooks 2 app is available today as a free download from the App Store. With support for great new features including gorgeous, fullscreen books, interactive 3D objects, diagrams, videos and photos, the iBooks 2 app will let students learn about the solar system or the physics of a skyscraper with amazing new interactive textbooks that come to life with just a tap or swipe of the finger. With its fast, fluid navigation, easy highlighting and note-taking, searching and definitions, plus lesson reviews and study cards, the new iBooks 2 app lets students study and learn in more efficient and effective ways than ever before.

iBooks Author is also available today as a free download from the Mac App Store and lets anyone with a Mac create stunning iBooks textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books and more, and publish them to Apple’s iBookstore. Authors and publishers of any size can start creating with Apple-designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts. iBooks Author lets you add your own text and images by simply dragging and dropping, and with the Multi-Touch widgets you can easily add interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote® presentations and 3D objects.

Apple today also announced an all-new iTunes U app giving educators and students everything they need on their iPad, iPhone and iPod touch® to teach and take entire courses. With the new iTunes U app, students using iPads have access to the world’s largest catalog of free educational content, along with over 20,000 education apps at their fingertips and hundreds of thousands of books in the iBookstore that can be used in their school curriculum, such as novels for English or Social Studies.* The iTunes U app is available today as a free download from the App Store.

*Some content is available only for iPad.

Source: Apple Inc.

Related articles:
Apple unveils all-new iTunes U app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch – January 19, 2012
MacDailyNews presents live coverage of Apple’s ‘Big Apple’ education event – January 19, 2012


    1. A back pack full of school books costs more per student than an iPad and the digital iBooks. With BILLIONS in the bank, Apple can loan the money to the schools at ZERO interest over 5 or 10 years. What school would pass that up! That is cheeper than the book replacement cost already in next years school budget.

      1. Consider this now for all those that believed Apple’s got nothing new to offer to take over another market.

        • Take what you already figured out (Keynote, Page, Numbers, …) and regroup it.

        • Make the development software a Mac application only for use on Apple only devices.

        • Host it on your existing billion dollar server farm with your existing iTunes system of distribution.

        • Release it. Take over that new market.

        • Repeat the above steps and take over another market.

        Just how many devices and services do you think Apple can release at the same time each year? Think bigger!

        1. Another incredible market takeover and the stock market yawns. Apple provided a complete ecosystem and has 90% of the published text books on board to convert with a complete digital distribution and . . . the stock market yawns.

      2. Apple has historically:

        A. Donated hardware to schools and consortiums
        B. Discounted (subsidized) the educational institution channel
        C. Recycled older trade ins for educational institutions

        There’s the Apple dividend that will keep on giving…

  1. I know for what I’ve paid for my child’s books and study materials over the last two years I could have purchased anyone of the current iPad models. This will be great!

    1. I think the amazing thing that Apple does is make others say “Why didn’t I think of that” because Apple makes it so simple. Every parent or student has thought about it for years, with out really examining yet it seems that it is the implementation that is remarkable about this. I think only Apple could pull this off so eloquently since they have the complete ecosystem. Also apple being apple has the clout and credibility to let the publishers trust them. This is such a huge win for education. Now parents and kids who want to get a head start on subjects will have those tools available. Also a text book that never goes out of date is huge and cuts out all of the waste and expense that goes into releasing a new edition every 3 years. The publishers will make more money by selling each student (school district) a book rather than one book for one student over three years. I wonder if you can sell your book after the school year?

  2. with this intiative, the burden for purchasing textbooks seems to be shifting from the school to the student. This will free up funds in education budgets for actual teaching. that strikes me a good thing. Also, schools can move away from the Texas version of textbooks which include some psuedo-science as determined by their unqiue state board of education.

      1. Perhaps Virginia’s governor Berkeley was right. He “thanked God [they had] no free schools nor printing,” and hoped that “we shall not have any of these for hundreds of years, for learning has brought disobedience, heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them with libels against the best government. God keep us from both!”


  3. Sigh. It seems the only way to create math formulas in iBooks Author is by inserting them as static images from another program. iBooks Author strips out formulas from imported MS Word documents.

    Oh, well. That’s really disappointing for me: I was just starting to write a new “Intro to Computational Physics” book and was really hoping… It’s back to PDFs for now.

      1. One somewhat kludgy work-around is to use LaTeXiT and drag/drop a PDF of a formula into the iBook document. This may work for ‘displayed math’, but I don’t think it will handle ‘inline math’.

    1. There has got to be some way to work with mathematical typography. It’s essential. Maybe it’s still being worked on?

      By the way, what’s F. Kantor’s “Information Mechanics” all about? I have a copy of that book but his prose is impenetrable.

      1. My take on Kantor’s work is that he claims the universe is essentially a Turing machine. But the implications are problematic:
        – What about infinity? Can it exist in a Turing instantiation?
        – He allows for descriptive, rather than explanatory theories — we can describe what happens, but not why it happens.
        – Gödel’s incompleteness specifies that there are results that can’t be derived from within any specific system, in this case, in a specific Turing machine.
        (Remember, these are overly simplified thoughts.)

  4. I haven’t been able to find a decent business text on generating TOST analses that properly account for such things as emerging markets, PBAJ, evolving technologies, TROUT and LARD.

    If someone doesn’t write one for iBooks 2, maybe I will!

  5. Today. Apple completely disrupts and reinvents Education. For all of us.

    Yes it will take a couple years for the full impact to hit but this changes everything for the better. THANK YOU APPLE AND STEVE!

  6. This is awesome!

    Now college students will be able to save some of their hard-earned cash that used to go toward text books, and put into better use buying the things they really want, like pizza, beer, and weed! LMAO!!!!!

  7. Maybe I’m missing something. It says most titles will be 15 bucks or less. Most textbooks are 100 . College level is usually 200 . Where is this 15 bucks coming from? I’ll believe it when I see it.

    1. I don’t think that cost is that surprising if you think about it. The cost to print a hard bound full color text book is fairly high plus printed books are heavy so shipping costs are hight. In digital format you remove those costs and you open up sales to a much larger audience being in the ibook store, at this price point you might sell to those who just want to learn new thing and not just to those who are required to buy for there class.

    2. Um, you’re failing to consider that those $200 books often get owned, over time, by several different students. You can’t trade in a $15 iBooks textbook after the semester is over. The secondary market, from which the publishers make $0, will no longer be flooded with used books. Their revenue doesn’t drop from $200 to $15 per student. Think about it.

      1. Yes. You can be sure that the $15 price point was carefully calculated with your points in mind, to replace a disappearing revenue stream with another equal or better. This is how disruptions occur, by exhibiting a superior business model. The publishers are teaming with Apple because they see dollars replacing horse collars.

        1. But at $15, it’s going to take a lot of copies to recoup development costs. I wonder if this will push the publishers completely away from small market texts for advanced classes. Authors may end up working on their own, without the resources, in those areas. I’ve published texts with Addison-Wesley, Brooks/Cole, Thomson, and Wiley, and have *really* appreciated/used the resources they make available to authors.

          1. Well, maybe the new, much broader distribution channel would sell enough copies. Take one of your texts. How many different schools bought them? Did Wiley or the others market them broadly? It seems as though the new channel would have more reach. As for author resources, wouldn’t the publishers be just as likely to provide resources? Editors would remain a premium resource, I would think.

            I’m not suggesting you’re wrong, of course. I’m intrigued by the missing details of this completely formed system, and wondering if they’ve thought of everything, or if they’re sort of rolling the dice.

            1. Wiley did a nice job of marketing, but my last book was a graduate text. The first year had a bunch of libraries buying it, so the numbers were up nicely. The second year, it’s down to 50 or so schools.

              When I talked with an editor at a conference last week, he told me that for introductory texts a publisher won’t consider anything that isn’t projected to maintain sales of 25,000 copies/year.

              On the other hand, *all* the publishers I’ve talked want to go to eTexts, they just don’t know how to produce them. And (most) authors don’t know how to write them. Learning a new paradigm is always uncomfortable…

              Well, I’m sure they’ve thought of all the “known unknowns,” but they may have missed some of the “unknown unknowns.”
              (And I’m not poking fun at Rumsfeld; I thought that his statement was incredibly insightful.)

  8. BAM!! Bring education to the student! Less gas emissions, less expense, less driving, more flexibility, more people off food stamps! Big step toward a revolution long overdue to help fix this broken country thru education. Hopefully man left wing radical teachers will be laid off and replaced thru more efficient technology!

  9. Well it looks like I was wrong about Apple not releasing an authoring tool.

    However, it doesn’t change my situation about getting back into publishing. iBook Author looked great… until I saw that Lion was required. Not doing Lion any time soon.

    C’est la vie.

    1. I don’t know your reasons for not wanting to use Lion, it’s not really that challenging, but from a student’s perspective, it’s ironic that someone paying tribute to davinci would shy away from possibly the greatest breakthrough for text delivery in education in decades, if not generations, because of not understanding/wanting to use a media allowing the breakthrough. But I do have a great uncle who refusesHe’s bright man and that’s his way. To each his own.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.