Perhaps an Inkling of hope for digital textbooks (image from www.inkling.com)
Over the years, publishers have tried a variety of strategies to sell digital textbooks but with limited success. Most students continue to buy print books despite the inconvenience of having to lug them around in their backpacks.
Two major publishers are trying a new tactic. They have invested in Inkling, a company that makes interactive textbooks available on the iPad. They have also agreed to make dozens of their titles available on Inkling’s service.
Inkling’s business is based on collecting commissions from publishers for each sale. Students can buy an entire textbook, at up to a 35 percent discount over print, or a single chapter. Inkling’s books are customized for the iPad, and are not just an online copy of what is available in print. A book about music on Inkling, for instance, includes audio of a Mozart concerto along with explanations that scroll on the screen while the music is playing.