Following the announcement about Apple’s “iBooks 2.0” and “iBooks Author” platforms, a new report says that 27 German textbook publishers are joining together to battle Apple with an open digital textbook platform of their own. The platform is set to launch for the 2012 to 2013 school year.
9to5Mac reporter Jordan Kahn writes:
According to a report from German language publication Boersenblatt.net, the unspecified German textbook publishers will unveil the new platform in Hannover during the Didacta Education Trade Fair from Feb. 14 to Feb. 18. The report seems to claim the platform is backed and developed in conjunction with the Educational Media Association. There is not a ton of details, but the reports claimed the platform would be completely open and available to all vendors and publishers, along with being supported on all devices and operating systems. According to eBookNewser: “There’s going to be both online and offline modes, and teachers and students will be able to purchase eBooks from different publishers and manage them on a shelf.”
In related news, it seems Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, one of Apple’s main educational publishing partners for the new iBooks 2.0 platform, is not putting all of its eggs in the iBooks 2.0 basket. The company announced it would kick off a pilot program for its HMH Fuse: Algebra 1 iOS app in 3 school systems. The app features the same content included in their Algebra 1 iBooks textbook, but will also include access to hundreds of video tutorials, a graphing calculator, and a student response system. The app comes with a $60 price tag when in-app purchases are included.
Also, adoption of the iBooks Author system for classrooms could suffer a blow in the United Kingdom. The government there is considering changes to the copyright system that would prevent about 18,500 writers from being compensated for materials used in educational settings. This could result in lost income of more than £10,000 a year for many writers. The idea is to lessen the financial burden of fees paid by schools for the use of copyrighted materials. The proposal did note though that it could “undermine the financial incentives that encourage the creation of new educational works.”