Most iBooks Author E-Textbook Download Sizes Are Between One And Three Gigabytes

Most iBooks Author E-Textbook Download Sizes Are Between One And Three Gigabytes

With today’s announcement of iBooks Author and iBooks 2, Apple intends on making expensive, bulky textbooks and exploding book bags a thing of the past. But one thing they didn’t mention is that while an iPad 2 may be thinner than a traditional textbook, iBook textbooks gain bulk in a different way: the files are absolutely huge.

Check out how big the first eight textbooks available through iBooks are:

E.O. Wilson’s Life On Earth – 965MB
McGraw Hill’s Algebra 1 – 1.09GB
Pearson’s Biology – 2.77GB
McGraw Hill’s Biology – 1.49GB
National’s Chemistry – 959MB
Pearson’s Environmental Science – 793MB
McGraw Hill’s Geometry – 1.22GB
McGraw Hill’s Physics – 1.25GB

The smallest textbook is 793MB, which is bigger than Infinity Blade. And the largest textbook weighs in at almost 3GB! At these sizes, an iPad may be able to replace your bookbag full of textbooks… but if it isn’t more than 16GB, depending on your course load, you might have to carry two iPads around with you at all times.

  • Jordan Clay

    Lets not forget that these files are just going to get bigger too!  Especially when you start taking notes, creating flash cards and everything else it promises.

    One way to slim it down, would be to have 2 ways to download, a full version that  was 3gb and then a “light” version that eschewed the video for when there was Wi-Fi avail. 

  • Srose428

    2 Words, Cloud Storage.

  • techgeek01

    …. And then blow through your data even faster….. 

  • ??nD ??os??A

    I predict a 128GB iPad 3/2S in the near future.  Many students will want to carry not just the current semester’s books, but maybe several books from pre-reqs too. Especially in the sciences and engineering when you may need reference material. 

  • Jordan Clay

    1 word: Wi-Fi

  • Chrisg700

    I don’t see this as a big issue really. It just means that a college student would need a 32gb iPad to store their books and some documents as well as some fun stuff. These books will be taken off at the end of the semester as well. Assuming they add college textbooks, college students probably won’t have more than 4 books at a time. Many college “textbooks” are either regular books or very small to supplement something so 4 big books would be a max in most cases. Which is 12gb at the biggest size. Leaving at least 20gb free. I agree that cloud storage would be great. Most classrooms have wifi now so data isn’t an issue.

  • techgeek01

    Most wi-fi is capped. (unless you are not using your own personal or friends/neighbors)

  • Srose428

    So you are suggesting that kids would be getting 3g ipads and streaming?  I was implying wifi and UCF (where I went) had a great wifi network, both registered and for guests.  It will be more for K-12 to implement somekind of secure wireless system and stream the data to ipads.  Seems very plausible seeing as they have those wifi ipad hard drives already…

  • Gill Squid

    It would be even better if you would be able to just download chapters of the textbook at a time to save on space and downloading time.  Who need the entire book all at once?

  • Srose428

    Thats why you dump those old books onto your computer and only carry around only the ones you will be using all the time.  32gb will be plenty for college and 16gb for k-8 maybe 32gb for 9-12, really depends on the student.

  • Srose428

    Thats why you dump those old books onto your computer and only carry around only the ones you will be using all the time.  32gb will be plenty for college and 16gb for k-8 maybe 32gb for 9-12, really depends on the student.

  • ddevito

    that’s awful. Pure awful.

  • FriarNurgle

    They should let you just download certain chapters. 

  • Aj Tk427

    Well this certainly brings up questions about storage space.  Could we see a 128gig iPad 3 this year?

  • mlahero

    That’s just way too big. In fact they are so big that the whole issue becomes very impractical for a student who requires many textbooks on his/her ipad.This is when a memory card slot would come in handy, maybe they will finally FINALLY add one?

  • Greg_in_Dallas

    Since you can insert links, graphics, and multimedia into a pdf file, how is this any different?  Would the pdf file size be any different?

  • markrlangston

    This is probably the most confusing part of what is otherwise an incredible innovation for the education industry. I understand why the books are this big but I can’t believe Apple didn’t make sure you could put at least a half-dozen books on an iPad with room to spare for other apps, photos, music, video, etc. 

    You can only hope that they’ll find a way to shrink them down but with the smallest at nearly 1 GB it’s hard to imagine how they can improve interactivity and content within the book if they’re already this big.

    Come on Apple, think differently. 

  • CharliK

    This is very likely NOT the issue you and John claim it is. We haven’t seen any Grammar, History or Language books to know their sizes. They could end up being much smaller. Also for all we know come the spring, Apple could be releasing an iPad 3 that starts at 32GB of memory. Just in time for the BTS promo and definitely in time for this going truly large in Fall 2012 after publishers have more books out, schools have gathered the money to buy the books, iPads etc. 

  • rockinrors

    Android textbooks are so small in size!
    In fact, they are so small I haven’t even seen any!

  • JeremyWM

    The size is due to the videos included. The text is a only a tiny fraction of it. Adding a few notes is not going to have any effect. Remember a standard def DVD is over 7GB for 2 hours of video 40gb for HD.

    It’s remarkable that the file sizes are that small. Especially for books with hundreds of pages. Adobe’s solution for ebooks made 500mb files for 40 page magazines with much less interactivity. No one else is doing it any better.

    Remember that apps and iBooks don’t count towards your iCloud storage. These books are used on a semester by semester basis. When you’ve finished one it’s not necessary to keep it around on that iPad. Just leave it in iCloud and download the next one.

    Watch the keynote. These are amazing. The value they return is phenomenal. It’s like dismissing hd films because they take up more room than standard def. well yeah but look how much better quality you get.

  • ddevito

    Oh…you will. When Amazon does it.

    The difference is that they will make a free e-reader to go along with them so schools can actually afford them.

    FTW!

  • rockinrors

    The thing is, no one will buy them.
    Who in there right mind would rather an inferior product over a slightly more expensive one when it comes to their child’s education?

    That’s right.  No one.

    And if you wanted a textbook to be any good, it would have to be that big.  Think of how many pages one is, and of how many videos, pictures and other forms of multimedia in that – and they’re all made for a retina display.
    The only way Amazon could make it smaller (other than making it in a lower res for the shitty android/kindle displays) would be to get rid of a lot of that multimedia – completely defeating the purpose.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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