Apparently we weren’t the onlypeople excited by Apple’s iBooks textbooks. Global Equities Research, whichmonitors Apple’siBook sales, reported today that 350,000 iBook textbooks have already been downloadedin three days. Considering these aren’t free copies of Halo, that’sa lot of downloads for brain-building materials that might put our youth dangerouslyclose to learning something. Jokes aside, teachingcan be difficult -- I was a pre-Ritalin ADD class clown so I know it must have beenbrutal trying to learn me something -- so exciting class materials are key to engagingstudents of all attention spans. It’s a lot more rewarding seeing gravity in actionin a Star Trek-like planet implosion than it is looking at atwo-color sketch of a bewigged Newton getting angry at an apple. For anyone who’slearned software with video walk-throughs, motion and video has obviousadvantages. So far, there have been some greatinteractive iPad books -- The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmorebeing the prettiest -- but creating these involves learning to code in Apple’sCocoa language, a learning curve too steep for all but programming graduates. Apple’s iBooks Author aimed to change that, and it’s also been downloadedplenty of times since last week’s launch. I’ve played with iBooks Author,and, in predictable Apple fashion, it makes easy work of complex tasks. I was able todrag and drop an animated and textured 3D model into a book layout and have it instantlypreviewed on my attached iPad -- without writing any code. Amazon’s had incredible success revolutionizing the world ofself-publishing, but anyone creating e-books for Kindlesis hamstrung by the limited e-ink technology, unless you call flipping pages atone-frame-per-second an “animation.” Clearly, Apple’s aiming to be thecolor television of self-publishing, and, so far, it seems to be working. Continue Reading ]More...[/url]