Apple, iBooks Author, and Open Textbooks: RIP K-12 Publishers as We Know Them

David Wiley, iterating toward openness, Jan 31, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

David Wiley weighs in on the Apple iBooks announcement from the perspective of someone who has already dipped a toe (and both feet, and most of his body) into the world of online and open publishing. He describes the collapse of an entire industry in just a few paragraphs (which are so delicious they are worth reprinting in full):

"It’s fairly clear from the Jobs biography and the publishers’ behavior that the original plan was: (1) Apple would hire some rockstar PhDs who would write textbooks (2) Apple would own the textbooks, and (3) Apple would give away the books for free in order to sell more iPads.

"This apparently kindled a great fear in the publishers, who consequently agreed to create video- and multimedia-rich, moderately interactive textbooks and sell them for only $14.99.

Now, if video-based, multimedia-rich, interactive textbooks are only worth $14.99 to the big publishers, what are relatively static, text-based books with a few photos worth to them? Answer: The Apple event was the big publishers’ public announcement that they are ceding the traditional textbook market to OER creators and others."
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