17.366 – GarageBand for e-books

If this article at ArsTechnica is right, Apple’s big education and publishing announcement this Thursday will not just be about consuming a better ebook, but about making it yourself.

Apple is slated to announce the fruits of its labor on improving the use of technology in education at its special media event on Thursday, January 19. While speculation has so far centered on digital textbooks, sources close to the matter have confirmed to Ars that Apple will announce tools to help create interactive e-books—the “GarageBand for e-books,” so to speak—and expand its current platform to distribute them to iPhone and iPad users.

If Steve Jobs really did think that textbook publishing was an “$8 billion a year industry ripe for digital destruction,” then we might be on the lookout for something really revolutionary on Thursday. Forget about Pages finally being able to save an ePub — this should go way beyond that. To me, it sounds a lot like the realization of what Push Pop Press announced when Mike Matas showed the “Our Choice” book/app at last year’s TED, an easy to use tool that will let others make dynamic etexts. I still blow into the microphone on my iPad to see the book’s windmill spin.

I hope this isn’t just geared towards big publishers and that the same tools are available for teachers and students to use. I’d love to see what “Rip. Mix. Burn.” looks like with a classroom of content creators and collaborators.

EDIT: The Wall Street Journal makes it sound like this is really publisher-focused, with at least McGraw-Hill being involved since June.