Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Apple, ePub-3, and Digital Textbooks

apple-to-announce-tools-platform-to-digitally-destroy-textbook-publishing

I found this humorous in the article linked above: "There will be a spectrum of tools and consumers, and we will continue to fit on that spectrum," MacInnis opined. "I don't know if the publishing industry will react to it with fear or enthusiasm."

The publishing industry feels so secure, it will neither fear nor celebrate the fact that its days are numbered.  (Oh, and don't buy stock in Barnes and Noble or Borders Bookstore, either.)

Prediction: The publishing industry will try to compete by selling $70 e-pub textbooks to schools that have gone to 1:1 laptops or iPads.  This will seem to work for a couple of years, until some entrepreneurs figure out that the content already exists--for free--here: http://www.ck12.org/flexbook and they can repackage this into e-pubs and sell them for $2.50 each in the app store and retire early.  After 6 years, the textbook giants will still be trying to bilk customers for $15 per e-pub, but the revolution will have gained so much momentum that there'll be no recovering their dominant market share.

Effect:  This doesn't affect traditional classrooms at all (or just a minimal effect) until you have 1:1 devices in the hands of students.  When schools try to go to 1:1, it's so disruptive to your traditionally-structured classroom that the teachers revolt and tell the kids to put away their darned machines because they're so distracting.  They say to themselves that the world was a better place when students came to school with no electronics in the good old days of slate and chalk . . . or pen and paper, depending on the era and system of education they grew up in.  When schools reorganize around 1:1 devices (a huge structural/systems leap, if done right), then suddenly you can use the structures of distance coursework and epub textbooks--where appropriate--as supplemental resources.

So epub textbooks ARE THE FUTURE of 1:1 environments, whether those environments are F2F or distance (or blended).

The wave is coming.  Where's my surfboard?

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