Tag Archives: textbooks

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Headed Toward Bankruptcy

Many of you may remember Houghton Mifflin as the popular textbook publishing company. But since Education Media and Publishing Group acquired it and Harcourt in 2006 and 2007, the company has been burdened with financial struggles. Now, according to The New York Times, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has begun a bankruptcy process to eliminate its $3.1 billion of debt.

It’s part of a long-term restructuring plan that would turn its debt into equity. Company officials say the Chapter 11 process will benefit the company in the long run, as Julie Bosman explains.

“By converting our existing long-term debt to equity, we will put HMH in a much stronger financial position for the future,” [Linda K. Zecher, president and chief executive of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt] said in the e-mail, adding that she expected the process to be completed by the end of June.

Zecher promises that business will continue as usual. There are no plans for layoffs, and the process should be completed by the end of June. She says the company still has $135 million in cash on hand for the company’s use.

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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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