January 28, 2010

Will the iPad kill textbooks, not the Kindle?

By: Sonny Bunch

Interesting thoughts from Tyler Cowen on what, exactly, the iPad will kill if not laptops or Amazon’s Kindle:

My theory is that Apple wants to capture a chunk of the revenue in this nation’s enormous textbook market — high school, college, whatever. Why lug all those books around? The superior Apple graphics, colors, and fonts will support all of the textbook features which Kindle botches and destroys.

This is pretty intriguing. Apple is already a huge player on most college campuses: They sell tons of notebooks to college kids, enticing them with things like free iPods and the such. They’ve already got a foothold there. Why not switch from giving away iPods to giving away/heavily subsidizing the iPad with the purchase of a laptop? Any revenue they lose from subsidizing the iPad they could quickly make up in whatever chunk of the textbook revenue that they wangle out of the textbook makers, and they condition an entire generation of readers to love reading on their LED screen. If you get used to reading your textbooks on an iTab, why wouldn’t you read Stephen King books or poli sci tracts?

It would also remove the need to lug a laptop all over campus by connecting to the Internet, assuming it serves as a passable, if not brilliant, word processor. Like I said, it’s an intriguing theory.