Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 11:50 am.

Apple iBooks and the consumerization of textbooks

Phil Schiller ATDApple’s announcements in New York today were, as anticipated, a new authoring/publishing platform for e-books and a new push into textbooks and educational publishing. For a summary of the news, check out Peter Kafka’s liveblog at All Things D.

The initial skepticism I’m seeing is around the cost of adoption: Sure, digital textbooks are cheaper and lighter, but iPads are expensive! And school systems are broke!

Well, actually, paper textbooks are expensive, especially when you have to replace them. And iPads in the classroom should be able to last a few years, and replace a lot more than heavy textbooks. And iPads and other tablets will inevitable get cheaper. But, sure, I don’t expect school systems to run out and buy iPads for everyone overnight.

What I do expect, however, is a consumerization of textbooks and educational technology, much like we’ve seen in the IT departments at companies.

Just as Apple iPhones — and other consumer technologies like Twitter, Google Docs, etc. — made their way into big corporate IT systems through consumer demand, there’s no reason why a similar thing won’t happen in education, around tablets in the classroom, e-textbooks, etc. Especially if consumers are paying for the some of the first wave of adoption.

It’s not going to happen overnight, but only a fool would predict that in the first place. But come on, do you think huge paper books are really the future of education? This is going to happen. And in many places, it’s going to start with us, not them.

Photo: All Things D