Originally Posted by Shaun, UK
Hope this helps to bring down the cost of textbooks. Also hope it's not a US only thing.
Really like the idea of making it easier to self publish and anything that helps push out Adobe and their rip-off pricing is very welcome.
I can see the day when we have a national curriculum app which has all the required textbooks included so you don't have to go and buy them all separately. The iPad really does have so much potential to change things like no computer before it.
I would like to point out something. Today wikipedia used Java Script to block access and display their political views instead of the online Encyclopedia.
Remember when decent Encyclopedias were very expensive and required a yearly update subscription?
On the iPad it was slightly more difficult but I made an interesting discovery with relates to this thread. There is a really well done iPad app I found called Offline Wikipedia for $4.95. It took about 24 minutes to download the entire text to something like 84,000 Wiki entries so in effect I have an Encyclopedia on the iPad that needs no connection to the Internet. And it totally free of those Google ads you see all the time on the Android! I hate that exploitation by our Internet Overlords when studying or teaching.
$5 bucks to an Android user is outrageous but I don't have time to dink with all the little things of finding and installing an Android app that may be riddled with malware or a trojan.
Apple just makes everything so easy. I picked the app on the Mac in iTunes and a few minutes later when I picked up the iPad from its fancy audio dock I noticed the app was already in place there too. No connection to a computer was required to put the app in place!
$5 is nothing compared to the money I spent on heavy bulky 'dead tree' encyclopedias over the years. I think that for $0.99 (I will pay towards server costs) every six months or so that the ability to completely download a complete update from A to z to be a bargain.
Can you picture how much space all that data took up in the fifties and sixties? Would you even dream of carrying more than one of those books with you to class?
This app even allows you to automatically add images and the latest data if you have a connection when you access the stored data. It then caches the new data as an update to your Encyclopedia so you still have it when no access is available.
With iOS 5 multi touch gestures enabled it is quite natural to use four fingers to swipe the Wiki page to the left to expose my Notability notes or even additional books in iBooks, GoodReader, Kindle Reader, or iSilo.
Copy and paste seems so natural just as moving these things around on a desk in normal study.
But there is one really killer iPad feature. I can select text in any of them and have the iPad read that selection aloud in a strong clear female voice while I rest my eyes or follow along meditating on the material.
I can do this in bed, at the desk, sitting in the living room easy chair, waiting in the car, or on a bench in the shade.
My contemporaries all carry a huge catalogue type case filled with books and documents, I carry an iPad!
I can find points faster and more accurately to back up memory when speaking. Each day the iPad becomes a more natural must have tool.
I seldom carry a book bag anymore, I have several of them in my trunk, but I carry the iPad everywhere. If I need more I now carry a Mac Book Pro which compliments the iPad and I still am carrying only a fraction of the weight of the old way.
Students everywhere can relate to the change once they experience it. It simply makes no sense to carry a dead tree anymore.
In summary look at the costs, $5 for a simple 3 GB encyclopedia and reader app, $1.00 a year for complete updates. Free automatic incremental updates of the data you most frequently access compared to the hundreds of dollars of the old way.
Textbooks may not drop that perceptibly at first but they will drop eventually in annual cost and be a better more up to date product supporting our educational system.