February 4, 2010, 04:00 PM ET / By Mary Helen Miller
Software developer ScrollMotion announced this week that it will make textbooks compatible with the new Apple iPad for four major publishers: McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Pearson, and Kaplan Publishing. The e-books, in addition to providing the original content of textbooks, will allow users to highlight text in multiple colors, take audio and printed notes, search content in different ways, take quizzes, and watch videos.
ScrollMotion has worked with other publishers to adapt more than 7,000 titles for the iPod and iTouch, but the new deal with the textbook publishers "represent tens of thousands of textbooks," said Josh Koppel, chief creative officer and a co-founder of ScrollMotion. [snip]
Rik Kranenburg, McGraw-Hill's president for higher education, professional, and international publishing, said that 95 percent of McGraw-Hill's higher education textbooks are already available electronically and that all textbooks will be available for the new device "very rapidly." [snip]
Albert N. Greco, a professor at Fordham University's Graduate School of Business who studies academic publishing, said that given the complexity of transforming textbooks to iPad format, it made sense for the publishers to seek help from outside companies rather than do it themselves. [snip]
ScrollMotion has previously converted children's books, novels, and magazines to electronic format, but, Mr. Koppel said, "textbooks are probably the most complex challenge we've taken on to date."
With the fall semester the biggest term of the year for textbook sales, the iPad's debut last week seems to have come at a good time.