Apple, nonprofits promote e-textbooks for college

“College students will no longer be out hundreds or even thousands of dollars for print textbooks every year. Instead, they’ll read e-textbooks at much less cost — or no cost at all,” Sheila Riley reports for Investor’s Business Daily.

“At least, that’s the scenario promoted by e-textbook advocates, a movement that’s flourishing. Sacramento, Calif., nonprofit Twenty Million Minds Foundation, which works to provide free and low-cost digital textbooks, is among those leading the charge,” Riley reports. “And companies such as Apple are pressing ahead in this market.”

“‘We’d like to see all community colleges and state colleges and universities use them,’ said former California State Sen. Dean Florez. The ex-legislator is CEO of 20MM, which refers to the 20 million students in U.S. higher education,” Riley reports. “The foundation is piloting free e-textbooks at three California community colleges.”

Riley reports, “Apple may be in the driver’s seat in this emerging field, says technology analyst Tim Bajarin, president of Silicon Valley-based consulting firm Creative Strategies. ‘At the moment, Apple’s iPad is the only tablet design that’s really optimized for electronic textbooks,’ Bajarin said. The consumer electronics giant, which has long targeted the education market in other areas, is making a play in this market. In January, the company announced iBooks textbooks, which it calls ‘an entirely new kind of textbook that’s dynamic, engaging and truly interactive.’ Apple says textbook publishers such as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill (MHP) and Pearson (PSO) are making such books available in Apple’s iBookstore, with most prices less than $15, it said.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Have to ask… will this affect the bottom line ($) of textbook authors themselves? That would be a bad thing, because there are only so many students buying textbooks, so perhaps the price needs to be high to justify the effort. Can anyone shed some insight into this?

    1. I think they gouged students long enough. No reason for text books to be $200+. I would imagine it takes alot of research and time to create some books, but the amount of books they sell should quickly make up for that if they have the deals in place. These companies have been price gouging students for many years and its time for a change. Now it has to take notice at how much college is, you spend the rest of your life paying back the students loans because they are outrageous. Apple changed the Music industry this way by allowing users to buy the song they want instead of being forced to buy a whole album that most didn’t listen too, they were stuck buying a whole album for one song. Apple changed that and hopefully we are witnessing the same with ebooks now!!

  2. Few academics engage in writing textbooks because of the required time commitment that interferes with other demands on time that are much more closely tied to career advancement. I suspect that if an unobtrusive collaborative platform is developed, more individuals will get involved. It is much easier to write a chapter in an area of one’s specialisation than to author a complete textbook. I don’t think many academics would be motivated purely by the cash.

    I think that both academic publishers and teaching academics are becoming increasingly redundant. Tertiary education will be facing a dramatic transformation in a few years. Initiatives such as 20MM and iBooks may be the start. The current model of tertiary education was developed about 2,500 years ago.

  3. Because of high pricing of textbooks there was, and still is, a flourishing second hand market of used textbooks.

    In an eBook world, every student would buy a brand new eText for every class.

    One more reason for eBooks to be priced lower than paper textbooks (usually hardcover in the US to make them even more expensive — publishers will claim: “longer lasting”, LOL, yeah, for the last buyer, that is).

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