The next industry Apple is looking to revolutionize: the textbook industry. The company introduced new tools today for both students and textbook publishers: iBooks 2, which will allow students to purchase and access books on their iPad, and iBooks Author, which will help to create textbooks. Both apps are free, the Wall Street Journal notes, and the former will allow students to take notes, make study cards, take quizzes, search text, and more. An Apple VP calls the digital textbooks "interactive, gorgeous, fun, engaging."
Currently, high school textbooks by McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are available for purchase starting at $14.99, but Apple plans to greatly expand the offerings. This year, 6% of textbook sales are expected to be digital, but that amount is expected to hit 50% by 2020. "Finally a mainstream company like Apple is turning its attention to the huge problem of actually reinventing the book," says the chief executive of a digital textbook publisher. Insiders say Steve Jobs had long sought to lower textbook prices by making them available on the iPad.