Appleâ€™s Textbook Venture: Whatâ€™s the Big Idea?
The latest scuttlebutt on Appleâ€™s big education announcement next week: the company is venturing into textbooks.
An industry insider confirmed to the New York Times that Apple will, in fact, be partnering with textbook publishers. No new devices will be shown, the source says, but Apple will discuss their new digital textbook business next week.
â€œJoin us for an education announcement in the Big Apple,â€ is all the invitation from Apple says. Mashable will be reporting from the event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City on Jan. 19.
The location makes sense for a textbook announcement; New York City is a hot spot for textbook publishers. But will cash-strapped college students pay for digital books when studies show that renting paper books is cheaper? The same report did show, however, that digital books are typically cheaper than new paperback books.
In addition to the price, the majority of students prefer printed books, according to another study. So Apple has its work cut out for it. The company will need to partner with enough publishers, and make its digital books cheap and good looking enough to trump even used and rental print editions.
Textbook giants McGraw-Hill and Pearson already have a stake in the digital book realm. Still, aligning their companies with a brand such as Apple and the massive market presence that goes with it â€” particularly in some Newsstand-like venture â€” could make digital textbooks soar.
Newsstand increased revenues by more than 200% for at least one magazine publisher (Conde Nast). Other New York publishers will have taken note. History has shown that when Apple jumps into an industry â€” music, movies, phone apps, books and magazines â€” the prices drop, and Apple dominates the market.
Could affordable digital textbooks be the preferred choice of college students in the near future? What do you think about Apple getting into the textbook game? Let us know in the comments.
Posted by Janine E. Mooney, Editor
January 12, 2012