On January 19th, Apple is all set to introduce something that would revolutionize the entire textbook industry which according to Steve Jobs is a $8 billion industry. So who should be heading the initiative? It is rumored that iWork head Roger Rosner, vice president for productivity applications will be at the helm of his remarkable project. Roger at the moment is incharge of the iWork development suite and he would also be heading the upcoming new textbook work by Apple.
As pointed out by Wired, at one point Steve believed that educational issues cannot be solved by technology as there are political barriers involved. In a dinner with Rupert Murdoch, this is what Jobs said –
Most of the dinner conversation was about education. Murdoch had just hired Joel Klein, the former chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, to start a digital curriculum division. Murdoch recalled that Jobs was somewhat dismissive of the idea that technology could transform education. But Jobs agreed with Murdoch that the paper textbook business would be blown away by digital learning materials.
In fact, Jobs had his sights set on textbooks as the next business he wanted to transform. He believed it was an $8 billion a year industry ripe for digital destruction. He was also struck by the fact that many schools, for security reasons, don’t have lockers, so kids have to lug a heavy backpack around. “The iPad would solve that,” he said. His idea was to hire great textbook writers to create digital versions, and make them a feature of the iPad. In addition, he held meetings with the major publishers, such as Pearson Education, about partnering with Apple. “The process by which states certify textbooks is corrupt,” he said. “But if we can make the textbooks free, and they come with the iPad, then they don’t have to be certified. The crappy economy at the state level will last for a decade, and we can give them an opportunity to circumvent that whole process and save money.”