Ars Technica has a roundup of expectations for tomorrow’s special Apple event. Sources are suggesting a number of interesting possibilities, such as Apple producing a “GarageBand for e-books”—an inexpensive app that simplifies e-book creation and publication as GarageBand has for music.

But Apple may have more up its sleeve than just an e-book creation application. It may be planning announcements having to do with digital textbooks, especially considering that the iPad has a great big screen and multimedia capabilities that the company hasn’t really tapped yet for textbook applications.

[Inkling CEO Matt] MacInnis sees Apple as possibly up-ending the traditional print publishing model for the low-end, where basic information has for many years remained locked behind high textbook prices. Apple can "kick up dust with the education market," which could then create visibility for platforms like Inkling. This could then serve as a sort of professional Logic-type tool for interactive textbook creation complement to Apple’s "GarageBand for e-books."

The Ars piece also notes that digital textbooks were one of Steve Jobs’s final projects, and might have originally been intended to announce back when the iPhone 4S came out in October. Jobs reportedly saw textbook publishing as an “$8 billion a year industry ripe for digital destruction.”

It should be interesting to see what Apple has in store for us tomorrow. The idea of “destroying” the textbook industry sounds a little ambitious, but given what Apple’s accomplished over the last ten years it might just be entitled.


  1. School textbooks aren’t the only area in need of a well-done ebook-creating app. Any book with formatting more complex than that of a novel needs an app specifically intended for creating digital books. I’ve got about a dozen such print books needing digital versions. The workarounds, laying out in InDesign or Word and then using conversion tools, don’t work very well.

    It’s the standards themselves that are lacking, along with editors to create to those standards. In the midst of all the gushing about embedding video and audio, we’re forgetting that its still virtually impossible to properly layout poetry for a Kindle or to do hyphenation on an iPhone or iPad. Basic, must-do features that books need but either can’t be done or require tedious hand-coded HTML for each particular device.

    That’s what need fixing and that’s what I’m hoping Apple will be doing when they announce on Thursday.

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