Not much is known about Apple’s upcoming event on Thursday, January 19th. The entire industry seems to agree that Apple is ready to lead the way into a new frontier of digital textbooks through the iBookstore. Others suggest that the announcement will focus on making the world of digital publishing more attractive to authors — think “GarageBand for eBooks.”
Apple has reportedly been working with multiple publishers for months in preparation for its top secret event this week. Publishing house McGraw-Hill is expected to be one of the publishing houses present at the announcement at the Guggenheim museum in New York City.
According to The Wall Street Journal:
McGraw-Hill Cos., Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are among the education-publishing companies most likely affected by an Apple textbook announcement. The companies have experimented with interactive approaches, such as allowing students to take quizzes as they read and hear audio for foreign-language study, but many digital textbooks have looked a lot like their physical counterparts.
McGraw-Hill has been working with Apple on its announcement since June, a person familiar with the matter said. It wasn’t known whether Pearson and Houghton Mifflin also would participate.
Details are very scarce on what Apple has planned, but a hardware announcement doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Pundits have hinted that the announcement will be a big deal for Apple in the long run, with our own Mike Elgan prophesying that the Cupertino company is set to school Amazon on self-publishing.
According to Ars Technica’s sources, Apple will unveil “GarageBand for eBooks” on January 19th.
At the same time, however, authoring standards-compliant e-books (despite some promises to the contrary) is not as simple as running a Word document of a manuscript through a filter. The current state of software tools continues to frustrate authors and publishers alike, with several authors telling Ars that they wish Apple or some other vendor would make a simple app that makes the process as easy as creating a song in GarageBand.
Our sources say Apple will announce such a tool on Thursday.
Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he wanted to revolutionize textbooks and publishing for the digital age. According to his biography, Jobs wanted to make books “digital and interactive, tailored to each student and providing feedback in real time.” We’re going to see that vision unfold in three days.