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Sunday, January 22, 2012

McGraw-Hill CEO: Digital Textbooks Was Steve Jobs’ Vision

Steve Jobs

In a conversation with Peter Kafka from All Things D after Apple's education event, McGraw-Hill's CEO, Terry McGraw, said that Apple's modern take on textbooks was Steve Jobs' vision. 

From McGraw's interview:

Sitting and listening to all of this, I wish Steve Jobs was here. I was with him in June this past year, and we were talking about some of the benchmarks, and some of the things that we were trying to do together. He should be here. He probably is [gesturing up and around]. This was his vision, this was his idea, and it all had to do with the iPad.

He also indirectly hinted that the company is open to similar collaborations with Google and others (including Amazon).

McGraw sounds optimistic about the new iBooks platform and its impact on education, as well as the future of publishing houses like McGraw-Hill in the digital age.

Jobs spoke to Walter Isaacson, in detail, about his desire to transform the education industry. He believed that the $8 billion-a-year, textbook industry was ripe for "digital destruction," and that the iPad was a perfect tool to do that.

Brian Lam over at The Wirecutter has some more background information on Apple's attempt to reform the textbook industry. He spoke to an ex-Apple intern, Joe Peters, who, in a contest to present new ideas to Apple execs, proposed an "iTunes for textbooks":

How did you come up with the idea for Apple to get into Textbooks?

Well the original idea came from my frustration with how much Textbooks were and I did some research about the market which showed that prices were artificially inflated because publishers were losing revenue from the resale of used textbooks.


Do you think Apple developed their textbook program from your idea?

I want to clarify one thing – I'm not claiming that I invented the idea, just that I may have helped push management down a direction that they were already contemplating. It's very possible that they were thinking about Textbooks well before I did. I just want that to be clear because I certainly don't want people thinking that I'm trying to take all the credit. There's a lot of work that has been done to advance the idea.

You can look at it this way – here's a college aged kid telling you that this is a service he'd like.

There's a lot more interesting information over at The Wirecutter, where Peters shares his experience of presenting his idea to Apple execs.

It'll be interesting to see if Apple enjoys the same success as it did with the App Store, embracing similar, "closed" policies for books, which are generally thought of to be more "open."

[via AllThingsD, The Wirecutter]

View the original article here