January 19, 2012

"Apple has just announced iBooks 2 for the iPad... calling them a 'new textbook experience.'"

"The newly designed books are graphical, interactive, and make use of features like 3D imaging, embedded video, and multitouch gestures. The company seems to be taking cues from several applications which have been available for the iPad such as Frog Dissection and Solar System, both of which Apple called out at the event. They're also beefing up the notetaking functionality of the iPad, and the books will be available for purchase in the iBookstore directly. Apple has also announced that, at least for the titles it's making available today, the price will be $14.99, and it's just announced its first series of publishing partners, which includes Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill, and Pearson."

Okay, but how about some law casebooks? I've been lugging those damned things around for 35 years! (I'm complaining, but I've gotten these heavy tomes free for the last 28 years. My students pay 10 times $14.99 for the book I make them buy. And they have to shell out another $30 for the supplement to bring it up to date, which would be a non-issue for an ebook. And I'm talking about books that are mostly the text of court cases, which are in the public domain.)


Scott M said...

I'm a PC guy, solidly, but I'm going to take a very close look at this for my daughter in grade school.

KenK said...

Sounds like a great bidniz opportunity professor. Just sayin'.

Triangle Man said...

I am interested to see if Apple opens up this platform for individuals to publish their own work like the app store.

Joe Schmoe said...

This has the potential to be terrific. I'm anxious to see how it plays out.

Re: law casebooks; methinks those will be low on the priority list. The STEM courses that lend themselves to graphic-rich presentations will be first. Overly verbose, text-rich law books don't translate well into a graphic-rich environment. Sorry; lawyers and law scholars accumulated all that dreck, now it's a yoke to be born by its successors. Poetic justics.

traditionalguy said...

So how is West Publishing supposed to survive?

They need a bill introduced right away.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm a PC guy, solidly, but..."

Funny, I didn't even think about whether you'd need an Apple device to read iBooks. I read my Kindle version books on Apple all the time.

Patrick said...

Do you really find case books that valuable as a Professor? In school, I viewed them as case excerpts plus lots of questions, many of which were either brought up in class or just not that insightful. I resented having to buy those big books that I didn't find that valuable. I can see from a Professors point of view they would be helpful in organizing class and a syllabus, and making sure you covered the territory, but I'd think most Professors could do that pretty easily. Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

If the material in law casebooks is public domain, as Althouse says, they'll be in iBook form as soon as it's possible.

Apple also introduced iBook Author, a program to make high quality eBooks and put them up on Apple's online store, Making the process very easy. I'd imagine there'll be several competing sets of eBooks, some competing on features, others on price.

sydney said...

This would be wonderful for medical textbooks. There are so many things in medicine that lend themselves to interactive graphics - heart murmurs, physical exam principles, physiology, anatomy- not to mention the basic sciences on which medicine is built. I have an app on my iPad now that I use to refresh my knowledge of heart murmurs. I wish it had been available when I was a student.

Ann Althouse said...

"The STEM courses that lend themselves to graphic-rich presentations will be first. Overly verbose, text-rich law books don't translate well into a graphic-rich environment."

The trick is to think of ways to make casebooks interesting in a multimedia format. There are oral arguments available in audio. There are photographs and video that are often relevant to understanding the facts of cases.

These books are in competition with each other... .and with the option of professors opting out of commercial textbooks and just giving the students a list of links to read the cases on line. It's the editing of the cases and the little bit of connective material that is so valuable in making the reading manageable.

I mean, I could download iBooks Author and start throwing together my own conlaw casebook right now and just give it away to everyone.

This is exactly what I recommended in 1994: "LATE NIGHT CONFESSIONS IN THE HART AND WECHSLER HOTEL," 47 Vand. L. Rev. 993 (1994). I barely understood what "uploading" meant at the time.

"We should view commercial casebooks as obsolescent, to be replaced by computer technology, particularly for the course that is one’s primary field of research. Traditional casebooks can serve as "training wheels" for new teachers, until they have the experience to gather their own materials together as described above. But the radical step would be to build up a database of teaching materials on the Internet. As we experiment with different cases, questions, and materials, we should share the results, and respond to each other, incrementally building up a resource that each of us can download, customize, use, edit, add to, and ultimately upload. The cases are in the public domain, why should anyone make a profit selling them? Law review authors seem quite willing and eager to grant permission to reprint excerpts of their articles. And why should we compulsively horde the various insights that we use in class? Shouldn’t the future Federal Courts construction project take place in cyberspace? Instead of waiting for each other to produce a bloated, over-edited article (which we may copy and then never read), we should link up in the lively forum that technology has now made possible. Our colleagues' lack of interest in our "arcane" field could become a nonissue."

Joe Schmoe said...

Pearson has also teamed up with Google to provide learning management systems for schools & colleges. I'm not sure how this will work; maybe the Apple material is part of what's offered on the Pearson/Google LMS. Google just hosts and provides the framework for the content; Apple is one vendor providing the content.

Joe Schmoe said...

Good point by you, Ann, on the potential of audio/visual supporting material for conlaw classes.

I think everything can benefit from multimedia presentation. Not that we have to dumb everything down into a sitcom format; it's just that it can make for more complete communication. Right now there's lots of research showing that just reading, or just listening to a lecture, doesn't yield effective communication where the recipient comprehends and retains very much of the material.

Ann Althouse said...

"It was absurd, [Job said], that American classrooms were still based on teachers standing at a board and using textbooks. All books, learning materials, and assessments should be digital and interactive, tailored to each student and providing feedback in real time."

Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 545). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Sofa King said...

If only a couple of decades ago, someone had had the forethought to invent an extensible markup language capable of supporting links, images, video, and of course text. They could have defined it as an open standard, so it could be read, or "browsed" if you will, on any device. They could even have implemented some kind of transport protocol to make it accessible as a local file, or across interconnected networks!

If only...

Lance said...

When the iPad was announced, I knew this was the market Apple was eventually going after (in addition the obvious current ones).

In addition to being an IT worker, I'm also a freshly minted grad student after avoiding going back to college for 17 years. Being able to put most of my textbooks on my iPad is wonderful.

I'm, stunned that law schools haven't enjoyed a revolution in this space. Hopefully that will change soon.

(note: just added you to my blog roll/rss feeds and I guess you should give Andrew some credit, I found your site because of him /shrug. I'm enjoying reading both of you.)

Patrick said...

Wow. You were really with the program back in '94. I can understand "making a profit from the cases" when the author of a case book adds value, but that doesn't happen much. Really, the value of the case book is compiling the cases, and editing them to include only the subject of the class. I never understood why that should make the things so darned expensive. I would have strongly preferred a list of links to cases with a good classroom discussion (although the link idea would have been just a little premature for when I was in law school.

Patrick said...

Was Job wearing his mock turtleneck hairshirt when he said that?

Robert said...

from the Amazon link:

34 used from $63.80

Sell Back Your Copy for $70.00
Whether you buy it used on Amazon for $63.80 or somewhere else, you can sell it back through our Book Trade-In Program at the current price of $70.00.

Looks to me like the smart student can make a buck off of you, Professor.

Although if that student buys through your link, you make a buck as well.

Bill said...

1) I prefer the casebooks. Highlighting by hand is easier.

2) I have no intention of shelling out money for some shitty Apple product I have no use for.

3) That book you assigned can be had on the cheap--$62 used isn't exactly a horrible price.

Triangle Man said...

It looks like the answer to my question is that you just download iBooks Author for free, create your book, and publish vie the iBook store. Very cool.

I wonder how many students will use Althouse's link to buy their casebook? She wouldn't be permitted to provide that link to them directly in the syllabus because it would violate UW's advertising policy, but I suppose if they stumble on it here, it's fine.

madAsHell said...

Yea, but......

What about the vanity poses??

You know, the photos of lawyers, and politicians at their desk, and in front of this really grand bookshelf filled with leather-bound-gold embossed case law.

I mean....What is Steve Jobs goin' to do about dat?

Nightbird Glineux said...

I can read Kindle books on my Windows PC, MacBook Pro, Android phone, and I used to be able to read them on my iPod Touch before Apple got greedy and demanded a cut. (Not sure if Amazon had a work-around for that.)

Can I even read an iBooks 2 book on a Mac?

Dose of Sanity said...

My kindle wire is going all out to read my course books this semester.

I like to highlight, so I will get both, but you can always have them scanned to PDF and read those. (my plan).

No need for interactive. If you are interested professor, tell your students to use the copier services to scan them as pdfs.

Jim said...

I'm an adjunct at a local business school with a daughter in college. This is a big deal.
1. I am embarrassed by the cost of the texts I assign. Apple can pull the equivalent of an itunes for textbooks and pocket a significant amount of money while making my students better off.
2. Many of my students downloaded the power point of my lecture and read it on their ipads while taking notes in class.
3. My daughter got an ipad last year and I frequently get messages from carbonite that she has not logged into her macbook for a week. I fully believe that the ipads will continue to take market share from windows and apple laptops.

In short.
Textbooks on way to being a thing of the past.
iPads taking share from laptops.
Apple will keep getting richer.

Jim Breed

Alex said...

Just another way to lock people into iCrap.

Alex said...

Jim Breed - another mindless iSheeple.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm interested in writing with iBooks Author but it won't work without OS 10.7, and as far as I can tell, such a version doesn't exist yet for my desktop.

It took me too long to figure out that problem existed.

I'm afraid that without Steve Jobs, Apple will lose its magic, that things won't "just work" anymore because they'll dump new stuff out without taking care about things like this.

Alex said...

Ann - if you have an Mac then you can upgrade to OS X 10.7 for $29.99.

Ann Althouse said...

@alex I don't see 10.7 only 10.6. Put up a link to where it can be downloaded I looked!

Alex said...

Ann - OS X Lion upgrade

To download OS X Lion from the Mac App Store, you need a Mac with Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later.

Jose_K said...

Caebooks? all the opinions of the Court are freely available in the internet. The papers attached are published by Univerity Presses, Why they dont give them for free if they are so commited to disemination of knowledge?

Jim said...

Alex at 4:27

My daughter will be laughing her ass off about me being an "isheeple," for she has dragged me kicking and screaming from windows world into the mac ecosystem.

In her senior year of HS she started lobbying me and her Mom to get her a mac book to take to KU. I blanched at the cost but she prevailed. I reasoned that it might be easier to provide tech support from 50 mi away with the mac than a windows machine.

Four years later, the mac is still functional. It was a bargain on a life cycle cost basis.

I quizzed four or five of my biz students about their ipads before we bought one for L. She uses it so much that I get the emails from carbonite saying she hasn't been on the network for a week to backup. Many of my students forswear purchasing a laptop in the future because the ipads do everything they needed a laptop for.

L's ipad works so much better than my android tablet that it is going on craigslist as soon as the ipad 3 comes out.

I will soon shake the dust of windows off of my feet.
Jim in Overland Park, KS