Following Apple’s big push into education with the announcement of the new “iBooks 2.0″ and “iBooks Author” platform, new reports claim 27 German textbook publishers are banding together to combat Apple with a digital textbook platform of their own. The platform will launch in time for the 2012 to 2013 school year.
According to a report from German language publication Boersenblatt.net (via eBookNewser), the unspecified German textbook publishers will unveil the new platform in Hannover during the Didacta Education Trade Fair from Feb. 14 to Feb. 18. The report seems to claim the platform is backed and developed in conjunction with the Educational Media Association. There is not a ton of details, but the reports claimed the platform would be completely open and available to all vendors and publishers, along with being supported on all devices and operating systems. According to eBookNewser: “There’s going to be both online and offline modes, and teachers and students will be able to purchase eBooks from different publishers and manage them on a shelf.” Read more
Long time Apple watcher Jason O’Grady from ZDNet said he heard that some software is on tap today including Pages ’12 with support for publishing to iBookStore, an iBooks 2 app that will also work on Macs with Lion and Textbook rentals. The event’s happenings are to be announced by Eddie Cue with help from Roger Rosner. All rumors seem plausible but uncertain.
Perhaps most interesting, Steve Jobs seems to have talked about Apple’s involvement in textbooks —perhaps pre-empting today’s announcement— in his official biography released late last year:
In fact Jobs had his sights set on textbooks as the next business he wanted to transform. He believed it was an $8 billion a year industry ripe for digital destruction. He was also struck by the fact that many schools, for security reasons, don’t have lockers, so kids have to lug a heavy backpack around. “The iPad would solve that,” he said. His idea was to hire great textbook writers to create digital versions, and make them a feature of the iPad. In addition, he held meetings with the major publishers, such as Pearson Education, about partnering with Apple. “The process by which states certify textbooks is corrupt,” he said. “But if we can make the textbooks free, and they come with the iPad, then they don’t have to be certified. The crappy economy at the state level will last for a decade, and we can give them an opportunity to circumvent that whole process and save money.”
Jobs had a much harsher view of the education “industry” in a 1996 interview, which we reported yesterday.
For what it is worth, our sources told us: “Don’t get your hopes up for anything consumer oriented.”