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McGraw Hill: new iPad, cheap iPad 2 to ignite e-textbooks

updated 11:05 pm EDT, Mon March 12, 2012

McGraw sees new iPads sparking edu demand

McGraw Hill Education's new ventures VP Vineet Madan predicted in an interview Monday that the new iPad would have a major effect on digital textbooks. He explained to TPM that the 2048x1536 display and added speed would be a large help for digital textbooks. LTE had its own benefit for those that could justify it, since it would be fast enough to stream intensive content instead of having to store everything locally.

The new iPad would also have a ripple effect: by pushing the price of an iPad 2 down to $399, it was lowering the price of entry, and made it much easier for schools to get iPads that were still very capable.

"I've long thought that the tipping-point price for a tablet is between $200 and $300," Madan said. "Now that the entry-level iPad 2 has dropped by $100... we'll see much more uptake."

He was critical of Android tablets, as they often weren't taking into consideration certain designs. "Some of the Android tablets" didn't have battery life that students could use without having to charge between classes.

Apple has been promoting iBooks 2 and e-textbooks as a way to overhaul education in the US, but many have pointed to price as an issue. Although $499 is inexpensive next to most computers, the cost of outfitting every student in a school with a tablet and keeping it update can be cost-prohibitive for most. A $399 tablet along with Apple's iPad leasing strategy could reduce the overhead.

By Electronista Staff


  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009


    textbooks ebooks

    are a huge ripoff. $15 per student per term is WAY higher than than $50-$80/book that is used 2 terms a year for 3-5 years. And they are licensed PER STUDENT!

  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: Jul 2006


    Amazon trumps Apple

    This publishing VP is out of touch. $399 is still far more than most public schools can afford, particularly given how they can break and the fact that the per year cost of digital textbooks being discussed is actually greater than for printed textbooks. A full set of free textbooks and teaching apps might justify an iPad. Commercial textbooks never will.

    In addition, the added resolution of the iPad 3 is a hinderance to digital textbooks rather than a benefit. The few media-rich textbooks that have been created for iPads are so bloated, 1-2 Gigs, that only a handful will fit on low-end iPads. Hi-def graphics will only make that worse.

    The best approach to textbooks is likely to be platform-independent texts that let a student use whatever hardware he and his family has. And rich media content is best left online (i.e. on YouTube like Khan Academy). Cluttering an iPad's limited storage with a video-inside-a-book that's only watched once makes absolutely no sense.

    I'm not sure Amazon realizes it, but its two product lines are better placed for the K-12 market than Apple's. Cheap and rugged epaper Kindles are perfect for text and math-heavy subjects, which is the majority of high school textbooks. The Kindle Fire is better and much cheaper where color and interactivity is needed. Right now, schools can buy both for $100 less than a low-end iPad 2.

    Apple's iPads do make sense where Apple and McGraw execs life, that is in more affluent communities with well-funded school systems. That particularly true if iPads can replace the laptops those students would otherwise being using.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: textbooks ebooks

    are a huge ripoff. $15 per student per term is WAY higher than than $50-$80/book that is used 2 terms a year for 3-5 years. And they are licensed PER STUDENT!

    And yet the ebook can be kept up-to-date, as opposed to your 5 year old text. And the ebooks are supposed to be so much better, with more capabilities, a/v options, etc. Heck, copy/paste would be a joy if you could do it.

    But I love people. They decry the printed text book because it can go out of date, it can be damaged, it's static, its too heavy. eBooks have so many advantages over the printed book.

    And yet, since it has more advantages, one would actually expect it should cost more, not less. But not the cheap police. They think that if it's digital, it should be cheaper, regardless of the benefits you get from it. At that point it's just about cost.

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