Apple made a splash when it partnered with the three largest K-12 publishers to provide textbooks for its iPad devices through the iBookstore. McGraw-Hill Education has released six titles for the iPad since that January announcement, with Pearson Learning contributing six math and science texts, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) adding two social studies textbooks to the total.
So far, it’s been a good experience for students, who seem to enjoy the enhanced learning experience, and for publishers, who have found new ways to incorporate graphics, audio, and video into their textbooks.
“Really, what an iBook is, at the end of the day, is freed from the constraint of the traditional page as we know it,” said Bethlam Forsa, executive vice president for product development and publishing operations at HMH, in an interview with T.H.E. Journal. “And it’s allowed us to make significant user enhancements around it.”
The publishers have been able to better understand the concerns schools have about the new technology, including costs associated with providing the tablets and the existing infrastructure with which schools must work. Schools will adopt the technology at different rates and the publishers have to keep an eye on making that transition as smooth as possible.
“In terms of purchasing the electronic versions of the content, it follows our same types of sales and licensing and use model,” said Vineet Madan, senior vice president of new ventures at McGraw-Hill. "What usually happens is the school districts will purchase them for a few school buildings or individual school buildings, and then manage provisioning of the associated devices that have access to that content.”