Food for Thought - Renewed momentum for eTextbooks...

Although eTextbook adoption in higher education is slower that some might anticipate, growth is steady. A recent Pew Research report indicated the eReader ownership doubled this past holiday season.  Apple's recent announcement about its entry into digital textbooks and self-publishing and its goal to provide a "a new textbook experience" provides a new surge in momentum toward the mainstreaming of eTextbooks. What impact will broader adoption of eTextbooks have on your campus? For students? For faculty?  

Apple unveils iBooks 2 for digital textbooks, self-pub app
Source: CNET.com
Date: 1/19/12
Apple unveiled today iBooks 2, a "new textbook experience" for the iPad and the company's attempt to bury traditional schoolbooks. "Clearly, no printed textbook can compete," Roger Rosner, an Apple vice president, said during a press event this morning at New York's Guggenheim Museum. The company also announced iBooks Author, a free app for self-publishing e-books, and improvements to the iTunes U app that puts entire courses online and allows instructors to post syllabi and messages for students.  Before unveiling the plan, Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, noted the sad state of current textbooks. They aren't portable, searchable, current, or interactive, he said.  "We want to reinvent the textbook," Schiller said. He noted that more than 20,000 educational apps are already available for the iPad and that more than 1.5 million iPads are already in use in education.

Apple's Higher Ed Play
Source: Inside Higher Ed
Date: 1/19/12
Apple officials today announced major new pushes in education, including 100 new free college courses prepared with colleges and universities, and suitable for viewing on an iPad. The effort involves such leading institutions as Duke, Stanford and Yale Universities. (Apple's announcement is here.) Phil Schiller, a senior vice president at Apple who is acting as emcee of the announcement, said that the iTunes U. courses would enable "anyone anywhere at any time to take courses for free."

Additional Coverage:
o Education Week: Apple Unveils E-Textbook Strategy for K-12
o eSchool News: Apple to enter the digital textbook fray?
o Financial Post: Apple iBooks 2 ‘reinvents’ textbooks for iPads
o Mind/Shift: Did Apple Just Reinvent the Textbook?
o The Chronicle of Higher Education: Apple's New E-Textbook Platform Enters an Already Crowded Field
o The New York Times: Apple Introduces Tools to (Someday) Supplant Print Textbooks
o  Inside Higher Ed: Relaunching the iPad

5 Universities to Test Bulk-Purchasing of E-Textbooks in Bid to Rein In Costs
Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education
Date: 1/18/12
Apple officials today announced major new pushes in education, including 100 new free college courses prepared with colleges and universities, and suitable for viewing on an iPad. The effort involves such leading institutions as Duke, Stanford and Yale Universities. (Apple's announcement is here.) Phil Schiller, a senior vice president at Apple who is acting as emcee of the announcement, said that the iTunes U. courses would enable "anyone anywhere at any time to take courses for free."

Additional Coverage:
o Wisconsin State Journal: UW-Madison to be part of e-textbook pilot program

Technology, costs, lack of appeal slow e-textbook adoption
Source: USA Today
Date: 1/17/12
With their promise of ubiquity, convenience and perhaps affordability, e-textbooks have arrived in fits and starts throughout college campuses. And publishers and book resellers are spending millions wooing students to their online stores and e-reader platforms as mobile technology improves the readability of the material on devices such as tablet computers. Silicon Valley start-ups, such as Inkling and Kno, are also aggressively reinventing textbooks with interactive graphics, videos and social-media features.  Despite emerging attempts at innovation, the industry has been slowed by clunky technology, the lasting appeal of print books, skeptical students who scour online for cheaper alternatives, and customer confusion stemming from too many me-too e-textbook platforms that have failed to stand out.

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