Apple Launches E-Textbook Tools

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iPad screenWhen it comes to college, one of the most dreaded aspects of college life is the cost of college textbooks. In this article we will take a look at the newest Apple reveal – E-textbook tools and what they could mean for the future of college students.

Why We Dread College Textbooks?

When our children go off to college to broaden their minds with a whole new level of education, they also take with them a chunk of our savings…or a mountain of college loans. As if the cost of college wasn’t prohibitive enough for many people, there is also the added expense of college textbooks. College textbooks are not only ridiculously expensive no matter where you go, but they are a required part of the college experience and for most classes more than one book is required. For the 2010 to 2011 college year the average cost of books for a four year public school in the United States was $1,137. Certainly, many colleges offer the option of purchasing used books, but even then only a fraction of the total cost is saved.

How Can We Save on College Textbooks?

Until now there have only been a couple of methods to save money when purchasing college textbooks – renting and ordering online. Only a select few colleges offer students the opportunity to rent their textbooks at a much smaller cost than buying books so while this is a cost effective method, it is not yet widespread enough to be an effective saving mechanism. Ordering books online through online book sellers who can afford to offer books at much lower prices is another option for college students but still the prices are quite high and that is assuming that the books needed are available. So what is the next step in saving on college text books? Technology giant Apple may have the answer: e-textbooks.

Apple Reinvents the College Textbook

E-textbooks are certainly not the creation of Apple themselves and it is up to publishers as to whether or not they choose to offer their textbook titles in e-reader format, but Apple intends to make e-textbooking a little easier! With Apple’s new e-textbook tools release they are hoping that an increasing number of students will be able to turn to e-textbooks as a new way to make their education a little more affordable as well as interactive. The newest Apple e-textbook program is called iBooks and not only allows for the college student to save big bucks, but they also offer high school students the opportunity to take advantage of iTunes U for their book selections as well.

How Will iBooks Bring New Life to Educational Books?

The new iBooks from Apple will bring a whole new life to the party when it comes to educational resources because books will no longer simply offer words on a page and a few generic photographs and diagrams. IBooks gives publishers the opportunity to embed movies and videos in to textbooks, making them much a much more interactive experience. It may seem like something of a cheat to offer videos in educational textbooks, but when it comes to those challenged with learning disabilities, the multimedia approach may be a welcome change.

The Things you need to know about iBooks

One of the most significant things that parents want to know about the iBooks system is just how much the books themselves are going to cost after the expense of the reader itself. According the Apple’s Senior Vice President, Philip Schiller, books published for high school students will retail for around $14.99 a piece. How much will college students be looking at for their much more intensive text books? Currently there is no sign of actual numbers but it is said that the new program will be able to cut at least thirty five percent of the cost that parents and students shell out for their college textbooks each year.

What about the cost of the iBooks application for the e-reader? No worries there, the application is absolutely free and is designed to function on both the iPhone and the iPad. While there has been a disapproval rate of around twenty percent for the newest version of iBooks, there has been an approval rate of more than fifty percent.

The Problem with iBooks

The Prohibitive Cost of iBook Readers

The release of iBooks makes the purchase of educational textbooks sound almost too good to be true and this might just be the case. While a large portion of children today are keeping up with the most recent technology trends and gadget releases, there are still a large number who are not able to. The cost of the devices needed to access iBooks can be particularly prohibitive for many; however, when faced with the cost of an iBooks reader or a year’s worth of college textbooks, it may be justifiable.

A Lack of Discipline

When looking at the iBooks system from a teacher or parent’s point of view there is another drawback to utilizing e-textbooks. The problem is that the majority of e-textbook readers also offer students the opportunity to install games and access the internet – two things that can be particularly distracting especially for high school aged children. One must ask however, if there is too much of a difference in offering children access to these distractions through an iBook reader is any different to offering them access to them through laptop use or allowing cellular phones in schools.

Is the iBook System worth It?

It seems that the iBook system has been raising a few eyebrows on both sides of the fence but when it really comes down to it there are far fewer drawbacks to implementing this system. The colleges that sell their textbooks to students however, may have a different opinion. If you have a college student and are looking in to saving a few hundred if not thousand dollars, the iBook system is completely worth the cost of the reader.

Amy grew up in England and in the early 1990's moved to North Carolina where she completed a bachelors degree in Psychology in 2001. Amy's personal interest in writing was sparked by her love of reading fiction and her creative writing hobby. Amy is currently self employed as a freelance writer and web designer. When she is not working Amy can be found curled up with a good book and her black Labrador, Jet.

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1 Comment on "Apple Launches E-Textbook Tools"


Apple has some great technology. There is no question of that. But they haven’t cornered the market when it comes to college textbooks. There are plenty of options when it comes to cutting costs where college textbooks are concerned. In fact, students can get off to a great start with their educational career by doing some research.

To begin with, many classes don’t even require the textbook. I’ve taken several classes where the textbook was recommended, but not mandatory. And by the time I got through the classes that DID require a textbook, I found that I could have easily gotten by without one.

You can rent textbooks as well. You can also buy them used through forums with the school or sites like Or, you can really simplify the process by going to a school that simply charges one flat rate. My current school, WGU Indiana, charges one flat rate for 6 months worth of classes, including books and not limiting the amount of classes you can take in that time.


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