Analyst: 350,000 Apple Textbook Downloads in 3 Days

Apple unveiled its plans to shake up the education publishing industry with its interactive textbooks for the iPad last Thursday, and it took only three days for downloads of the new books to top 350,000, according to data from Global Equities Research.

Apple's textbooks on iPadsOver 350,000 textbooks downloaded in 3 days

The analyst firm doesn’t say how it reached the 350,000 figure, although it claims to have a proprietary system for tracking Apple’s ebook sales, according to AllThingsD.

Apple introduced its new interactive textbook format for iBooks 2 and the iPad at a special media event in New York City on January 19. The format supports high resolution images, 3D model viewing, introduction videos, extensive glossaries and indexes, text highlighting and note taking, and integration with Apple’s new iTunes U app for the iPad.

The company also released iBooks Author for designing and creating interactive books. The app for the Mac includes layout tools, a WYSIWYG-style editor, Pages and Word inport support, and more. GER says the app has already been downloaded more than 90,000 times.

iBooks Author-made textbooks that are offered through Apple’s iBookstore can’t be priced over US$14.99 and publishers keep 70 percent of the revenue generated from their book sales. Since students will buy new textbooks each year — unlike schools that purchase books every few years — publishers could be looking at higher revenue over time.

Based on early interest in the new format, GER analyst Trip Chowdry thinks Apple may have a winner on its hands. “[It’s] a recipe for Apple’s success in the textbook industry,” he said.

Interactive textbooks from Pearson, McGraw Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, along with other publishers, are available through Apple’s iBookstore. iBooks Author is a free download through the Mac App Store.