Apple to Unveil Ebook Publishing Tools at Media Event

Apple will be hosting a special education-related media event on Thursday, January 19, and insider sources are claiming the company will use the press conference to introduce new authoring tools that make it much easier to create ebooks.

Apple may launch new ebook publishing toolsApple may launch new ebook publishing tools for education

Sources told Ars Technica that Apple’s tools will be like “GarageBand for ebooks,” and will make it much easier to to design and publish interactive ebooks. The Mac and iPad is also expected to announce support for the ePub 3 standard. Currently, Apple supports ePub 2 with its own custom extensions that limit ebook compatibility outside of the iBooks app.

Assuming those sources are right, Apple could fix a glaring problem with the ebook publishing industry because the current publishing offerings are complex and frustrating despite the promise of one-button authoring from Adobe and Quark.

Apple announced its Thursday media event last week with the line, “Join us for an education announcement.” With the promise of an education-related announcement, Apple could be planning on pushing its rumored ebook publishing tools at the textbook market. Those tools could make it possible for publishers to sell textbooks to schools at a lower cost, make it easier to update titles, and offer publishers more incentive to release their educational books for the iPad.

Sources speaking with the Wall Street Journal say Apple will announce a partnership with McGraw-Hill, although they didn’t know if deals with Pearson or Houghton Mifflin would be announced, too. Deals with the big name educational publishers would give Apple a leg up on Amazon in the digital school book publishing market, which fits nicely with Steve Jobs’s plans to shake up the textbook industry just as he did with the music industry.

Apple isn’t saying what it will announce on Thursday, but if it really is easy to use ebook publishing tools, we may be witnessing the beginnings of another Cupertino-led revolution.