Apple May Launch GarageBand-Like Tool to Publish eBooks at Education Focused Event on Thursday

Last week, Apple announced that it is holding a special media event in New York on January 19th that will be focused on education.

It is widely speculated that Apple will expand its iBookstore to also sell textbooks. Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson has revealed that the textbook industry was one Jobs wanted to revolutionize with the iPad. Here’s a quote from Isaacson:

“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 major publishers, such as Pearson Education, about partnering with Apple.”

Ars Technica now reports that Apple plans to launch a new publishing tool for eBooks. It could do to eBooks and iBookstore, what xCode has done for apps and the App Store.

The current state of software tools continues to frustrate authors and publishers alike, with several authors telling Ars that they wish Apple or some other vendor would make a simple app that makes the process as easy as creating a song in GarageBand.

Our sources say Apple will announce such a tool on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Wall Street Journal has also reported that Apple has been working with textbook publisher McGraw Hill and could one of the partners that participates at Apple’s event:

McGraw-Hill Cos., Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are among the education-publishing companies most likely affected by an Apple textbook announcement. The companies have experimented with interactive approaches, such as allowing students to take quizzes as they read and hear audio for foreign-language study, but many digital textbooks have looked a lot like their physical counterparts.

McGraw-Hill has been working with Apple on its announcement since June, a person familiar with the matter said. It wasn’t known whether Pearson and Houghton Mifflin also would participate.

A GarageBand like tool for publishing eBooks does sound interesting. We can’t wait to see what Apple has in store for us at the media event as it is high time someone revolutionalised textbooks.

[via Ars Technica, WSJ]