Today Apple launched the new updated iBooks app, chronologically (and logically) titled – iBooks2.
This is where the revolution of an entire industry begins.. again. As it did with the global music industry, and the desktop publishing industry, the smart phone industry… this time it’s the hardest one to crack of all – the school text book industry (dramatic music). Whilst this might seem a dramatic statement – surely transforming the entire global music industry would be the hardest gig in town – the reality is (in the USA and Australia at least) that the entrenched intra-familial relationship between publishers, retailers, education departments and schools is VERY strong. So strong in fact, that it will take the most mighty Herculean effort on behalf of Apple to crack this particular nut.
We here at ipadaustralia.net allege (allege mind you, this is all very IMHO) that what Apple confronts here is actually an industry within an industry. The target appears to be Books or Text Books, but it is actually a level deeper – the historic and matrix like web of supply that is overseen by school boards and districts (in the US), and education departments, publishers and retailers in Australia. Whilst no particular person or group could be accused of maintaining this ‘union-lock-out’ type of behaviour entrenched in the school book industry, we allege that some kind of system of discounts and subsidies exist that maintain a system where students routinely visit chiropractors, and parents pay the equivalent of a months salary for items that must be ‘updated’ the following year. Surely we are not the only people who observe an almost 1950’s style approach to schooling watching our kids walk to school under the weight of a 1 tonne kerbweight school bag, where everything else they consume is in their ‘smartphone’ hand or on their 2 kg laptop?
Apple have their work cut out here, but the iBook2 app and the free iBooks Author Mac app herald the way forward to bring 21st century thinking and applications to 1950’s style schooling.
What are your thoughts? Do you think we are being too harsh, or do you think that Apple is the best company to work with the education sector in modernising the way it supplies and uses text books?