Apple to Take on Digital Textbooks Next Week in NYC

Word is going around today that Apple is sending out invites. that rumored NYC digital publishing event is indeed happening next Thursday.

And yes, I have an invite (via eBookNewser).

As you can see from the image at right, this event has something to do with education. Given that Apple is a tech company, we’re likely looking at some type of digital textbook announcement.

But I don’t know what that could be. Here’s what the NYTimes Bits blog had to say:

The event will showcase a new push by Apple into the digital textbook business, but will not feature any new devices, according to a person close to the company who did not want to be identified talking about it before it occurred.

The thing is, I don’t see how Apple plans to make a buck if they enter the digital textbook market. This isn’t a market that is primed for growth (like ebooks). On the primary and secondary school levels textbook purchases are dependent on taxes, which is a finite supply as well as down this year in most places. And on the college level, students are buying fewer textbooks each year.

Then again, maybe Apple knows something I don’t. Maybe they’re not in this for the direct profit. On the other hand, they might have pulled off some amazing technology that they want to show off. We’ll have to wait and see.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Mike Cane11 January, 2012

    Yeah, here is Jobs’ thinking of how to get blood out of that stone:

  2. Jeb Stoves11 January, 2012

    Replace your 150 dollar textbooks with a 700 dollar angry birds/facebook machine!

  3. Troy McConaghy12 January, 2012

    Maybe Apple has written software to implement a real-world version of the Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer. (The hardware already exists.)

    …software which knows the local curriculum requirements, keeps track of how the student is doing, what they’ve mastered and where they need more work, software which can figure out what sorts of exercises or instruction would best-help that particular student (based on their learning styles, interests and aptitudes): drawn from reams of educational content – ebooks, video lectures, quizzes, movies, projects… Some of that content is free and some of it is paid-for, but the latter is only bought when needed (on demand, just in time).

    These ideas have been around for a long time (e.g. the Dynabook). There are businesses and nonprofits implementing some of them. Apple can give them some unifying tools and leadership.

  4. […] : The digital Reader. Ce contenu a été publié dans Actualité par Nicolas, et marqué avec iPad. Mettez-le en […]

  5. asotir12 January, 2012

    Maybe Apple will be expanding iTunesU to include for-pay textbooks, video- and audio-lectures, and apps … all while collecting their 30% toll on the way. And maybe jawboning textbook pubs into lowering prices?

  6. […] to their source, Apple’s news this week isn’t about selling digital textbooks, like I previously assumed; it’s about making them. Apple is slated to announce the fruits of its labor on improving the […]


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