retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The New York Times reports that Apple Inc. has “introduced three free pieces of software revolving around education. It released iBooks 2, a new version of its electronic bookstore, where students can now download textbooks; iBooks Author, a Macintosh program for creating textbooks and other books; and iTunes U, an app for instructors to create digital curriculums and share course materials with students.

“Digital textbooks made for iBooks,” the story notes, “can display interactive diagrams, audio and video.”

Forrester Research says that sales of e-textbooks

Sales of electronic textbooks accounted for only 2.8 percent of the $8 billion domestic textbook market in 2010, according to Forrester Research.
KC's View:
On the face of it, they may not seem to be as retailing-oriented story, but I think this is symbolic of the broad digital shift that is influencing how people think and act and acquire ... and as such, is very much a retail story.

There are a couple of components to this story. As a parent, I’ve long wondered how much damage we’re doing to our kids’ backs, sending them off to school with backpacks loaded down with textbooks. So just from a physical perspective, moving textbooks to iPads is a good idea.

But even more important, textbooks on tablet computers is a way to create an infrastructure that will allow for constant updating and a degree of interactivity that kids will expect and respond to.