The sleepy textbook industry got a wake up call last week with Apple’s iBooks 2 announcement that’s designed to offer students digital textbooks that cost far less than their paperbound equivalents. Several textbook publishers were on hand and have announced support of Apple's iBooks 2 announcement. But has the new line of digital textbooks already hit a stumbling block?
Apple learned its plans to revolutionize the textbook industry won’t be a cakewalk. The consumer technology giant was forced to respond to reports of glitches in its new iBooks 2 software reported by USA Today technology editor Ed Baig.
Baig reported problems trying to run the first two chapters of E.O. Wilson's Life on Earth on his iPad which were being made available for free as part of the iBooks launch. Instead of seeing a video of the author it was audio only and the screen turned gray and then the audio quit as well without anyway to advance or escape from the gray screen short of restarting -- which didn’t fix the problem.
In a rare response to a media request, Apple told USA Today:
"We're aware of a small number of iBooks 2 users having issues with the playback of the introduction movies when opening iBooks textbooks. It will be fixed soon in an upcoming software update."
Baig noted that “restoring” the iPad and re-downloading iBooks seems to have fixed the problem in his case.
Meanwhile a number of other iBooks 2 users have complained about problems with the software in customer reviews at Apple’s App Store.
Baig noted that customers ratings have come in generally high for iBooks 2, 4 out of 5 stars based on 822 ratings, but 129 users gave the new iBook a mere 1-star rating.