Apple‘s wildly popular iPad tablet has proven itself to be pretty adaptable, being put to work by everything from the military to airline companies as more people come to appreciate the flexibility that tablet computer offers. Using the device to store and access textbooks seems like a no-brainer, and a recent report even indicated that one out of four college textbooks will be digital in the next five years.
Enter Inkling, an e-book company that deals exclusively in interactive textbooks for the iPad. The service has been around since 2009, offering books from a number of notable publishers, but a new commitment and investment from two of the top names in the textbook world — Pearson and McGraw-Hill — should grow the total number of available products to around 100 by this fall.
The two companies invested an undisclosed amount of money in Inkling’s future, bringing the service’s total investments to date up to $10 million, an anonymous source tells The New York Times. What sets the textbook seller apart from other e-book providers is its content; not only are Inkling’s books designed with interactive features such as video, audio and quizzes, but students also have the option of purchasing either an entire book or individual chapters.
To get things rolling, Pearson will be bringing two dozen M.B.A. textbooks to Inkling, along with several other undergraduate arts and sciences books. McGraw-Hill will add to the selection of titles it already has available through the service, bringing its Top 100 college titles along with some medical and reference books.
The problem now seems to be pricing which, although lower than what one would spend on a print copy by up to 35 percent, may not be enough to attract students who know well that they’ll be able to sell off their old physical textbooks once the classes they relate to are finished. Then again, how many students would jump on Inkling as an excuse to purchase a shiny, new iPad before they head off to college?