Apple may introduce new tools and publishing standards for e-books through its iBookstore as part of the company’s media event slated for January 19th in New York City. While the event is speculated to center around the education and textbook industry, Apple has been coy in its media announcement and invitation and not much information is officially known about the event. That said, Ars Technica reports that Apple may introduce a new tool to make it easy to create, publish, and distribute e-books through what is viewed as ‘GarageBand for e-books.’
The company’s GarageBand app, which is part of the iLife suite in Mac OS X, is a consumer-grade application that helps home and casual users create tunes, music, and jingles easily. If Apple replicates the ease of use of GarageBand with e-books, the company can not only push even more iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone devices to the education market, but will be able to deliver value and grow its iBookstore.
Apple has always been keen on and with the education market, and we can potentially see course readers, special course-specific curated editions of textbooks, and other educational materials being delivered through the iBookstore if the tools made it easy for professors, teachers, and others in the academic industry to readily create their own course books through Apple’s platform.
With Google stepping into the e-book market through Android Market and Amazon branching out to delivering hardware in addition to digital services, Apple can have a leg up in this new market. Rather than relying on big name publishers to supply content–many digital textbooks are still expensive–professors can also join and publish. In many universities where course readers are used as supplements to traditional books and textbooks, professors can publish directly to iBookstore and make their required reading list available through iTunes.
By offering tools, Apple is recruiting others to help create content for its platform to drive value and create an ecosystem making it harder for users to leave the platform.