Inkling: The future of textbooks?

Could you soon by clicking instead of flipping those pages?

It all began with an inkling.

“I watched students use technology, and textbooks were competing for their attention. It was frustrating because I would see the promise of technology not realized because of the textbook,” says Matt MacInnis.

After spending eight years with Apple in the education group, Matt MacInnis launched Inkling, a start-up company that is reinventing the textbook. See how it works here.

Inkling is bringing textbook titles into a new-age multimedia experience for the iPad and it’s picking up steam. The company announced a second round of funding last week- $17 million from Tenaya Capital, Jafco Ventures, Pearson and Sequoia Capital.

That money will be invested in new technologies and go toward research and development. MacInnis says designing interactive textbooks is not always something you can tell a computer to do. You need a human being curating the content.

“For us, what’s exciting is the world of what we can natively digital content,” says MacInnis. “We have a number of projects underway right now that are really going to be market defining titles. They won’t be bound by the world of print.”

The concept is already popular among publishers and especially colleges. MacInnis says Brown University rearranged its first year medical program around titles Inkling offers. Hult International Business School, on track to be one of the largest business schools by enrollment, also requires Inkling titles for several courses.

The titles can be downloaded through Inkling’s free app. Books range from $1.99 to $9.99 per chapter, which can be downloaded individually. There is always at least one chapter available for free.

Though MacInnis doesn’t think digital textbooks will ever completely replace print textbooks, he does predict the market picking up in 2012, with 20 to 30 percent of students using digital titles over print. He says about 100 titles will be available this coming school year.

Inkling isn’t alone in the market of digital textbooks. However, MacInnis says what sets his company apart from the competition is the interactive experience.

“A lot of people are claiming to do e-textbooks. They’re selling you a PDF. It’s kind of hard to spin a 3D molecule in a PDF,” says MacInnis. “If you’re paying $100 for a book, you better get an awesome experience.”

More about tools you need for school at EducationOption.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Philadelphia principal has President Obama's ear

The West Philadelphia head is gathering ideas to present to the White House.

Local

Neighbors testify at Overbrook roommate slaying trial

Neighbors and roommates were called to testify Wednesday in the trial of Renaldo Robichaw, 56, charged with murder for the death of roommate Albert Smith, 48.

Local

Attorney at heart of alleged insurance fraud took…

A Center City personal injury lawyer took his own life last week, days before D.A. Seth Williams released an indictment putting the lawyer at the heart of an alleged insurance…

National

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

Movies

Latin culture highlighted at Filadelphia film fest

Get ready to have a “Bad Hair” day at the upcoming Filadelphia Latin American Film Festival. We mean that in the best possible way. The…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

NFL

Eagles will spend Thanksgiving in Dallas, play four…

The Eagles have an impressive, challenging and exciting schedule in 2014.

NFL

NFL releases Eagles 2014 schedule

The Eagles have four primetime games, face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and host the Seahawks in a dynamic, challenging and impressive schedule.

NHL

All signs suggest Steve Mason will start in…

Flyers head coach Craig Berube elected to put Steve Mason in net for the final minutes of Game 3.

NHL

Gary Bettman praises Philly prior to NHL draft

Gary Bettman will bring the NHL draft to Philadelphia this summer.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."