Education publishers point out that they need to be able to make their content usable on a variety of platforms -- not just the iPad. But the iBooks Author app won't enable them to do that. "I have to be device-agnostic," says Bethlam Forsa, executive vice president of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, one of the companies highlighted during Thursday's press event as one of Apple's iBooks textbook partners.
Chegg CEO Rosensweig says his company uses HTML5 for its e-textbooks, which allows it to use a variety of authoring tools. HTML5 also supports a range of multimedia features, which are then viewable on a variety of devices. You can't say the same thing about the iBooks format introduced Thursday, which is limited to the iPad. "The majority of devices out there certainly aren't iPads," he says, "and we need ubiquity across platforms."
And according to Inkling CEO Matt McInnis, iBooks Author isn't ideal for large-scale publishing companies. "It might be fine if the goal is to enable individuals to create e-books," said MacInnis, "But it's not an industrial-strength product."