ScrollMotion tapped by publishers to develop textbook apps for iPad

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
App developer ScrollMotion has inked deals with major textbook publishers to adapt textbooks for the transition to a digital classroom.



Scrollmotion, developer of the Iceberg reader app for the iPhone OS, has been in talks with major textbook companies to develop digital versions of their textbooks for use on devices such as the iPad. The Wall Street Journal reports that the publishers involved in the project include: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt K-12, which is a unit of Education Media & Publishing Group Ltd.; Pearson PLC's Pearson Education, and Washington Post Co.'s Kaplan Inc., known for its test-prep and study guides.



Maureen McMahon, president of Kaplan Publishing was reported as saying, "Nobody knows what device will take off, or which 'killer app' will drive student adaptations. Today they aren't reading e-textbooks on their laptops. But ahead we see all kinds of new instruction materials."



According to the article, ScrollMotion would take files provided by publishers and adapt them to fit on the iPad platform - adding enhancements such as search, dictionaries, glossaries, interactive quizzes, and page numbers.



Expanded features could include video, highlightable text, lecture recording, and note taking.



"People have been talking about the impact of technology on education for 25 years. It feels like it is really going to happen in 2010," reportedly said Rik Kranenburg, group president of higher education for the education unit of McGraw-Hill.



While Apple's intentions for the education market were not made clear during the iPad's unveiling last week, the WSJ piece states that according to those familiar with the iPad's development the device's role in education was a major point of discussion at Apple.



Apple is not a stranger to the education sector, its popular iTunes U service offers both audio and video content from colleges and universities from around the world.



Apple's iBook application and iBookstore, introduced alongside the iPad last week, allows users to purchase and download books from a variety of publishers. Highlighted in the presentation were HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Hachette Book Group.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 58
    kurtkurt Posts: 225member
    I would think that being able to take notes and highlight text are one of the most important things for a text book. It can't simply be a big pdf file. There needs to be some kind of overlay with a student notes and highlighted sections of the book.
  • Reply 2 of 58
    hosshoss Posts: 69member
    Publishers will be unnecessary when they open up the ibookstore to independent authors with the same 70/30 split as the app store. The ipad is gonna be massive!
  • Reply 3 of 58
    rhyderhyde Posts: 294member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hoss View Post


    Publishers will be unnecessary when they open up the ibookstore to independent authors with the same 70/30 split as the app store. The ipad is gonna be massive!



    I think you grossly underestimate the amount of value added the publishers provide to their authors. I've just spent 10 months working with the editors on the *second edition* of my book. The amount of work they put into the book was phenomenal. Very few authors have the publishing, graphic arts, English (or other natural language), and marketing expertise to do everything themselves. Anyone who has looked over several "self-published" books knows what I'm talking about.



    A good analogy is to compare quality-controlled commercial software against the many "freeware" or "shareware" offerings. Yes, you can find some horrible "quality-controlled" commercial software and you can find some great freeware offerings. But by and large, the commercial stuff is better.



    This is particularly true for technical and other non-fiction texts.



    I'm not saying you won't see a lot of self-published e-books. However, when they do start appearing, we're going to hear about how the glut of such books is akin to the glut of "fart" apps and other low-grade applications we see on the iPhone today.



    I, for one, will continue to take my 15% from the publisher and let them invest heavily in the quality of the text.
  • Reply 4 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hoss View Post


    Publishers will be unnecessary when they open up the ibookstore to independent authors with the same 70/30 split as the app store. The ipad is gonna be massive!



    So schools, universities etc., will just go with some random 'dudes' attempt at a textbook rather then a major publishing house? Well shit I better start writing a chemistry book!
  • Reply 5 of 58
    daseindasein Posts: 139member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hoss View Post


    Publishers will be unnecessary ...



    There's a difference between "publishers" and "printers." Publishers do the intellectual heavy lifting. Printers do the grunt work. Printers probably will decline as producers of a physical print/product and adapt (or die) as producers of digital print. This part of producing a readable product will just continue the man-hour decline from a physical press / type-setting to word processing type-setting to automated type-setting. The efficiency (price/time benefits) will be seen mostly here.
  • Reply 6 of 58
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AdamIIGS View Post


    Well sh*t I better start writing a chemistry book!



    Got your title already..





    Cooking with Cheech and Chong: Second Edition



    (cause the first edition went up in smoke)





    If the publishers don't rent their books, they can kiss my...
  • Reply 7 of 58
    With out a doubt either Apple or a developer needs to come up way that a ipad user can markup a book. I'm going to order a couple of the new ipads (one for me and one for the wife) and I will definitely need this type of feature. I've been looking what's available with stylus and nothing yet seems like a winner. I also believe that students will need a good note taking application (along with the great stylus) for class. I have high hopes that Apple will solve these issues in the next few months.
  • Reply 8 of 58
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    Check out the rage [sic] reviews for Iceberg Reader in iTunes.
  • Reply 9 of 58
    Marking-up and highlighting was already shown. Expect it to be there when textbooks appear on the iPad, along with probably everything else the average student needs for their textbooks.



    A simple addition of a feature or two that most students need can make the difference between selling very few and quite a few textbooks.
  • Reply 10 of 58
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    Iceberg is great. Should be awsomer on the iPad
  • Reply 11 of 58
    Such a complicated process to get textbooks into kids hands in the public sector. Board of education has to approve books, districts have to budget for them. With all the states that can't even offer laptops for their kids, I seriously doubt they're gonna have the money for iPads.



    Lots of kids count on used book sales or getting books from older siblings, not sure how publishers are going to deal with that (especially with that comment I heard saying the books "expire" after a year). All-in-all seems like a huge cash-in for publishers who will probably cater to those wealthy enough to afford the iPad and kids who don't count on buying or selling used books. No way these publishers are going to take anything less than what they currently take in per book, so I'm not holding out much hope that prices go down if at all.
  • Reply 12 of 58
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    The iPad will initially come with OS 3.2 installed. How much will the upgrade to 4.0 cost?
  • Reply 13 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kurt View Post


    I would think that being able to take notes and highlight text are one of the most important things for a text book. It can't simply be a big pdf file. There needs to be some kind of overlay with a student notes and highlighted sections of the book.



    "Expanded features could include video, highlightable text, lecture recording, and note taking."



    what's the big deal? Apple's Preview Mac app already does all this and more!



    *
  • Reply 14 of 58
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,120member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hoss View Post


    Publishers will be unnecessary when they open up the ibookstore to independent authors with the same 70/30 split as the app store. The ipad is gonna be massive!



    Publishers will be required, as always.



    It takes a lot of money to publish a textbook, aside from printing costs. Often, a publisher commissions a text. Fact checking, proofing and so on are very important. Also, there must be artists to do graphics for charts and drawings. There must be photos, who's copyrights are gotten.



    This isn't that simple.
  • Reply 15 of 58
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,120member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    Check out the rage [sic] reviews for Iceberg Reader in iTunes.



    The Iceberg readers are just fine on the iPhone. There are always some who like to complain.
  • Reply 16 of 58
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,120member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pixelcruncher View Post


    Such a complicated process to get textbooks into kids hands in the public sector. Board of education has to approve books, districts have to budget for them. With all the states that can't even offer laptops for their kids, I seriously doubt they're gonna have the money for iPads.



    Lots of kids count on used book sales or getting books from older siblings, not sure how publishers are going to deal with that (especially with that comment I heard saying the books "expire" after a year). All-in-all seems like a huge cash-in for publishers who will probably cater to those wealthy enough to afford the iPad and kids who don't count on buying or selling used books. No way these publishers are going to take anything less than what they currently take in per book, so I'm not holding out much hope that prices go down if at all.



    Kids don't get textbooks from older siblings. Didn't you go to school? When did you take your book home at the end of the semester? Those books belong to the school, and must be returned.



    This will be great for school systems. They have the bargaining power individuals don't have. They will get good deals for the books. Not only will students from K-6 be getting iPads instead of laptops, they'll be getting their books in there too. This will save school systems millions of dollars.



    These are smaller, lighter, have better battery life, and include 801.n WiFi, which just about every school in the nation has.



    Then when they come into school, they can plug them into the keyboard dock at their desk. No more need for a computer lab, because these are so small, and cheap.
  • Reply 17 of 58
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,120member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    The iPad will initially come with OS 3.2 installed. How much will the upgrade to 4.0 cost?



    It should be zero. Remember, they changed the accounting for this.
  • Reply 18 of 58
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    The Iceberg readers are just fine on the iPhone. There are always some who like to complain.



    Some => a very large fraction gave it 1 star.
  • Reply 19 of 58
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    It should be zero. Remember, they changed the accounting for this.



    It should be non-zero, just as upgrades cost for the iPod touch. Just as for the iPod touch and unlike the iPhone, there is no subscription revenue stream for the iPad.
  • Reply 20 of 58
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,221member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    The iPad will initially come with OS 3.2 installed. How much will the upgrade to 4.0 cost?



    The iPad currently has iPhone OS 3.2 installed, not OS 3.2. Who knows which version of the OS it will ship with. Many including I believe that it will ship with iPhone OS 4.0. So far, every upgrade and update of the iPhone OS from iPhone OS 1.0 to iPhone OS 3.1.3 has been free. I do not expect this to change.
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