You’ve probably heard that there’s an Apple event scheduled for January 19, this Thursday. The invite they sent out promises “an education announcement” and the rumor mill says that Apple will be unveiling new tools and a platform to create and publish eBooks, with a strong focus on interactive content.
According to Steve Jobs’ biography, digital book publishing and its use in education was a pet project of Apple’s former leader and in a couple of days we might see the results. To quote the biography, textbook publishing is a “$8 billion a year industry ripe for digital destruction.”
Apple already have iBooks, which allow things like videos to be embedded in the virtual pages of eBooks. That’s done through proprietary extensions of ePub, which causes compatibility issues with other readers. Apple will reportedly be moving to the latest version of ePub, which has native support for multimedia and interactivity. This would mean that such books will work on non-Apple devices.
But rumors also suggest that the other big part of the announcement is new tools for creating such books. It said to be the GarageBand of eBooks, meaning everyone will be able to easily create their own books.
You can read a detailed piece about the possibilities of Thursday’s announcement over at Ars Technica.