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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Much Lighter and Cheaper Digital Textbooks on iPads

I posted on the coming (and I predicted explosive) growth of digital textbooks last year on my Publishing/Writing Blog and here on this blog.

This post gives the latest advances ... including popularity, growth and forecast figures.

Show me the money! AND the savings and convenience to students ... These e-textbooks (some with interactive, complex content) are probably the greatest invention since the vibrator :)

Three companies: Inkling (a startup stand alone), CourseSmart (owned by textbook publishers Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Wiley, MacMillan and Cengage) and Kno (an Education software company) are the main players in the digital textbook field to date.

Details here by Jefferson Graham in USA Today:

Matt MacInnis believes college textbooks are heavy, expensive and outdated. That's why he decided to reinvent them as a multimedia experience for the iPad.


"We're trying to bring textbooks forward to the 21st century," he says.

San Francisco-based Inkling is the start-up he formed to bring next-generation textbooks to the iPad. Chapters of such educational tomes can be purchased for $2.99 a pop at the iTunes App Store. In early tests, students rave. Several colleges have jumped on board, using Inkling textbooks with college-mandated iPads for fall courses.

Investors like what they see. Inkling today will announce a second round of funding for the company, $17 million from Tenaya Capital, Jafco Ventures and Sequoia Capital. This follows the initial funding from Sequoia and others, including publishers McGraw-Hill and Pearson.

"This shows we're trying to scale the business in a big way," says MacInnis. "We're hoping it shows just how substantial our vision is."

Some $4.5 billion worth of textbooks were sold in 2010, according to the Association of American Publishers. Education consultant Xplana expects digital textbooks to represent 3% of sales in 2011, growing to 44% by 2017.

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