Amazon’s last chance to catch up to Apple

“If you think Apple is a pretty big deal right now, you’ve seen nothing yet,” Rick Aristotle Munarriz writes for The Motley Fool.

“No one’s really talking about last month’s digital-textbook initiative, where Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Pearson, and McGraw-Hill agreed to offer interactive iPad editions of their classroom classics for no more than $15 a pop,” Munarriz writes. “However, all around the country, school administrators can’t stop yapping about it.”

Munarriz writes, “Unless budgetary concerns or bureaucratic red tape arise, more schools than you can probably imagine are making backpacks lighter next school year… The classroom land grab is happening right now, folks. Amazon’s smart enough to know that it can’t let Apple run away with this, but it’s on the verge of flunking out of class anyway by taking too long to react.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Good luck with that Amazon.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. It’s already too late… Sounds like the lion’s share of the deals have been done…

    Nobody is going to jump on a lone bandwagon, they will go with the safe bet of what everyone else is doing. Amazon might be able to sell titles under Apple’s banner, but folks, it’s already over, unless Apple royally screws up.

    Apple will come out with a new iPad for education, something maybe more rugged, maybe cheaper with fewer features to appeal to large purchases? I dunno… But they are soooo in!


  2. “Amazon’s smart enough to know that it can’t let Apple run away with this, but it’s on the verge of flunking out of class anyway by taking too long to react.”

    It’s already too late.

    Apple has the iPad (to use in conjunction with Apple’s iBooks Author development tool) and is about to release the iPad 3. It’s a ‘runaway’ success that Amazon can’t match.

    Amazon has their ‘one-trick-pony’ Kindle e-reader.

    Amazon’s about to get iPod’ed, and there’s nothing they’ll be able to do about it.


  3. I can still see there being room for a cheaper companion e-ink type device to complement the iPad. No matter how good the apps and textbooks are and how good multi-tasking gets, the simple fact is that a table is only so big and people don’t want to be constantly going back and forth between screens. People have always had textbooks, paper, and more recently laptops. I can see people having an iPad, and then say a kindle type device either as their paper, or their textbook, working on one and referring to the other. People won’t want to carry two iPads, but an iPad and a kindle type device would make sense. Not that this helps amazon specifically without being able to integrate things.

    1. Er no, it’s iPad and Notepad (paper type) at least until Apple gets round to their smartpen/stylus concept.

      The iPad is plenty fast with gestures to switch between a notetaking app and iBooks. If the iPad 3 gets 1 GB of memory that multitasking will extend to a lot of apps in memory.

      Why would you take try to take notes on a kindle anyway? Tap wait, refresh, tap, wait, refresh…. ad infinitum… snoooore

  4. It’s not too late. Amazon will enter this market.
    Eventually, all vendors will enter this market. Apple will NOT maintain a monopoly on digital editions of textbooks for no other reason than school boards not wanting to commit to vendor lock in.

    1. Open your eyes pal…
      Those are some big BIG vendors making books specifically for the iPad. You’re gonna tell me that the lame ass administrators in these schools are going to trust someone else in the next year or 2? By then Apple will just be stronger and more sure footed in the industry.

      This is Apple’s game if they keep playing it right.

    2. “Apple will NOT maintain a monopoly on digital editions of textbooks”
      Nobody said they would. They don’t have one anyway. You are free to put epub and pdf versions of textbooks on your device. The publishers can put out the books any way they like.
      There is not a “monopoly on digital editions” of any books at all.

      Now Amazon is trying to have exclusive distribution rights to some books, which is why some book stores refusing to carry those books.

      But that is another story. 😉

      1. but the consumption device at the moment… With the multimedia experience, would you not say that Apple is a front runner? I know there are other tablets etc. But apple has a fantastic position.

  5. A songwriter-singer said “You have to be First, Best or Different to succeed.”

    Apple has cornered the market by doing all of that at once.

    Amazon had better have a better, faster design and programming and marketing team than I’ve seen to date or they simply will never be on the playing field.

    A viable school level ‘reader’ tablet had better…

    1. Be tough
    2. Be secure at multiple levels.
    3. Have hi-res display w/fast frame rates
    4. APIs for content creators to use on all levels
    5. Be manageable by the school for updates and malware
    6. Have top level support from the mfgr

  6. It’s not just about the device, Amazon will have to develop the software tools or make deals with companies like Adobe to develop those software tools for creating books as Apple has done. This takes time and time is never on your side in tech. This is Apple’s market to own.

  7. Let’s talk about the Elephant in the room that everybody is ignoring.

    Surely Microsoft is going to take a half-assed run at interactive textbooks.

    Surely every Windows PC maker is going to make a half-assed Windows/Mango slate/tablet.

    Surely Microsoft will subsidize the total cost of the interactive textbook system to win a steaming pile of Windows only schools.

    Surely many students will be severely disappointed with Microsoft’s offerings.

  8. The only hope for Amazon is to hunker down and try to leapfrog over the next few incremental iterations of software/hardware products with some true, well-constructed innovation. Surely they realize that Apple’s innovation horizon must be way out there in the future already — Apple’s pipeline of new innovations is very long. I recall seeing an Apple concept video (the professor in his study) something like 10 years before those concepts were realized.

  9. Amazon flunks out because Amazon was “Smokin’ in the Boys Room! Smokin’ in the Boys Room! Teacher don’t you fill me up with your rule. Everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in school.”

  10. Personally, I’d like to see Apple make the iPad an extension of the desktop computer. Each student would have an iMac on their desktop (or possibly even a Surface-type interactive desktop?) with room on the desktop for the iPad. The student would then have all of the lesson materials on the desktop, all of the necessary processing power for project-making, a mouse and/or stylus (because touch just can’t do everything). The iPad would then be able to extend the student’s desktop, and use the combination in a number of other creative ways.

    Or so it seems to me.

  11. I would like to see Apple create a low-cost iPad option for the educational market. Face it — current iPads are overpowered for basic school use. A school iPad doesn’t need a camera, for example. It could probably make do with as little as 8GB of storage. A low-cost option would allow even cash-strapped schools to get on-board (and save a great deal of money over printed textbooks).


    1. Yes! For the same reason that Apple created the eMac all those years ago. It was a great success in the education market. So, come on Apple: let’s have an ePad – spec’d and priced to make it the new standard tool for schools and next generation learning.

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