Tag Archives: iPhone

Are Serialized E-Books the Way of the Future?

E-books have certainly broken into the publishing industry with force, but really, what else do they have to offer other than being more portable than physical books? That’s what some publishers are beginning to ask themselves.

That’s also why, according to The New York Times, some are trying to push the platform forward with serialized e-books — digital books that come out in small increments on a regular basis, like a TV show. Publishers and authors hope this will help to make the books more interactive and attractive to readers, as Julie Bosman explains.

One of the most talked-about new experiments is taking serialized fiction a step further. […] it is a novel called “The Silent History” that is available on the AppleiPhone and its iPad. It includes interactive, user-generated elements. The app itself is free, but readers pay for the book’s content, which arrives in daily installments of about 15 minutes’ worth of reading. […] They wrote a 160,000-word book and, using the iPhone for inspiration, created a “scavenger hunt” element allowing readers to see more story lines by visiting specific locations — like China and Washington, D.C. — that are outlines on a map within the app. Users can also add their own story lines.

This all sounds like a good idea in theory, but as the article mentions, enhanced e-books with audio and video features haven’t had much success.

On a personal note, I have friends that get so frustrated with their e-readers, they’ve given up on trying to download books to it altogether. I can’t imagine they’d want to download small portions of books every week or participate in scavenger hunts. In my opinion, if you want to read a book, you just read it. No fuss. Thoughts?

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Apple Reinvents Textbooks

Ah, behold the power of textbooks — educational and valuable? Yes. But they’re also pricey, heavy, and often not used to their full potential. Students tend to avoid opening them at all costs, and even teachers only use certain sections from them. But Apple is reinventing the wonderful world of textbooks — or hoping to.

Last week, the techie company rolled out a new app called iBooks 2, which would allow students to download textbooks onto an iPad for only $15 each. That’s a price students are more willing to pay if it also means having more portable, interactive books.

According to this article by Huffington Post, Apple says the iBooks 2 app — the next step up from its iBooks app, which only offers non-textbook-books — will allow publishers to incorporate 3D models, images, and videos into the books. Students will also be able to look up words, highlight text, and search through the book.

The app is available for free download on the iTunes store. So far, Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin have partnered with Apple.

The article only references high school textbooks for the iBooks 2 app. But Apple also announced an iPad and iPhone app for iTunes U that would allow teachers to create syllabi, upload videos from class lectures, and publish class notes.

Overall, this seems like an awesome plan. Yes, the kids will need an iPad to use the program, but many high schools have them now, and if not, the money kids will save from textbooks can now be put toward an iPad! I love the idea of interactive textbooks. It’s a modernized way of making learning fun, and I think that’s something any teacher, student, or parent can appreciate.

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