updated 03:50 pm EDT, Fri August 20, 2010
McGraw-Hilll, Wiley, Cengage books forthcoming
A new developer, Inkling, is bringing a variety of high-profile school textbooks to the iPad. The first four are from McGraw-Hill, and described as best-sellers in biology, economics, marketing and psychology; these should be available today, at an early cost of $3 per chapter or $70 for an entire book. In the near future prices should be hiked to $4 and $85, respectively.
In digital form the books have been enhanced with a number of multimedia elements, such as quizzes, video lectures and 3D models. Interface features make it possible to highlight text, access Google or Wikipedia, and create notes that can be shared with other students in real time. Inkling is noted to have signed deals with other major publishers, including Wiley and Cengage, although when their books might be released is unknown.
College textbooks have reportedly been slow to sell in the digital realm. The titles can still be expensive in spite of foregoing paper, and are dwarfed further by the cost of the hardware itself. Inkling founder Matt MacInnis, however, insists that there should be a "blossoming of touch-enabled tablets," which should drop their price over the next couple of years. "Our bet is that those tablets will change the way people consume content," the ex-Apple worker comments.