Apple’s iBooks 2 and Apple education event are hogging the limelight for days. Here is a different take on the issue
At first I thought we should blame ourselves for getting our knickers all in a knot when the rumors started circulating that Steve Jobsâ€™ deadly forces of disruption, honoring his dying wishes, had turned their sights on textbooks. But donâ€™t we frighten easily!
Then I felt angry at Apple.
Long-time master manipulators of the press and of fan-boys worldwide, they could hardly expect calm when the only available reference point was Jobsâ€™ Court Biographer reporting that textbooks were â€œthe next business he wanted to transform. He believed it was an $8 billion a year industry ripe for digital destruction.â€ Come on Apple. Please donâ€™t use the word â€œtransformâ€ interchangeably with â€œdestructionâ€, follow that with a â€œno commentâ€ for the press, and then blame us for speculating that the â€œbig oneâ€ was going to detonate. And being disappointed when it did not.
Out with a whimper, not with a bang. You canâ€™t disrupt an $8 billion industry with eight multi-gigabyte e-textbooks and 20,000 assorted apps. The weapon of choice? A cobbled-together free software tool, iBooks Author, Mac-only, that makes authors sign away their publishing rights to Apple. And for distribution, letâ€™s stick with the failing iBookstore. Education may well be â€œdeep in Appleâ€™s DNA,â€ but selling ebooks certainly is not.