Apple Releases iBooks 2.0 for Textbooks

Today at their education event in New York City, Apple announced iBooks 2.0 for textbooks. The initial release of version 2.0 adds the ability to read textbooks, highlight text within them, access interactive captions and watch videos with only a tap, and see definitions of key topics without leaving the page by simply tapping glossary terms. Apple is currently offering textbooks exclusively for high school-level students, but college-level material should be coming down the road soon. There are a total of eight textbooks available in the iBooks store Textbooks section today. Topics include Algebra 1, Biology, Chemistry, E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth, Environmental Science, Geometry, and Physics. All subject textbooks are only $14.99 each and E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth is free! To explore the textbook store, open up the iBooks app and head over to the store where you’ll find an “Introducing Textbooks” slide on the featured list. Tap it to begin wandering through the aforementioned topics. Please take note that textbooks are only available on iPad and not iPhone or iPod touch. More coverage after the break!

Apple has partnered with publishers McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Pearson — who, together, make up 90% of all textbooks currently available — in hopes to bring you an entirely new textbook experience. While there are only eight textbooks right now, this is a great start and publishers should soon see the potential that Apple’s tablet offers. Everyone knows that it’s a pain to carry four or five textbooks to school and back every day, and iBooks Textbooks hope to provide a lightweight alternative to traditional textbooks.

In addition to today’s iBooks 2.0 release, Apple unveiled iBooks Author for Mac: an easy way to create and publish multi-touch books for iPad. Check back on the blog for more information on iBooks Author soon!

Learn more about iBooks Textbooks here.

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