Inkling is a digital textbook company started by Mat MacInnis, an American engineer graduated Harvard who worked for Apple. MacInnis writes that the company started with a vision for a better textbook which is interactive, engaging and took advantage of the opportunities afforded by new media like iPad.
But the main clue is not only to reinvent publishing or books but to reinvent the way people learn. Accordingly to this statement, MacInnis and his team came up with idea of reinventing textbook to make them more like computers. The idea predicts that new e-textbooks will be an answer to higher expectations of students to their learning tools.
Recently, Inkling released Version 2.0 of their popular iPad application. The app offers nearly 50 of the world′s most popular undergraduate, business, and medical textbooks. Features of Inkling 2.0 include study groups developed for discussion sessions anywhere with anyone, including professors, friends and experts.
There is an expert in every book who knows the information inside and out. Additionally, the reader has access to discussions and popular comments which are very helpful to grasp the concept. Often the author of the book itself gives notes and can answer questions asked within the book’s interface.
Another extension is an organizer of all your notes, highlights, bookmarks and other links that you create. It also involves notebook. The 2.0 version also includes the integration of Wikipedia and Google for in-book searching beyond the book. Moreover, there is a possibility of purchasing chapters from a textbook from $2.99 per chapter.
The biggest advantage of the Inkling textbooks is the fact that they are designed with interactivity in mind. As an example, biology and anatomy textbook include 3D rendering of bones, muscles and molecules which can be rotated to see all the details from each side. Medical students reported that Inkling′s books are smarter and more intuitive than complicated texts which are currently in use.
The subjects which are not visual, like history for instance, are still a challenge for Inkling designers who must improve to differentiate their products from competition — mainly Kno, Amazon Kindle Textbooks Rental and Barnes & Noble′s NOOK Study.
According to MacInnis, the company is approaching 100 natively-rendered e-books at the moment. MacInnis said that these books make up over 50 percent of the textbooks used in the United States of America.
However, comparing this numbers with over 100,000 books that competitive Kno has scanned for iPad, with similar social media features and basic note-taking most students who are not scientists might choose the better price. What is more, the convenience of having all their receipts from one place cannot also stay without comment.
Inkling can push out a new textbook in about 4 to 6 weeks but to deserve the fast-changing tablet-toting student, MacInnis will have to continue his mission to fix to the format of 21st century textbook which can fulfill all learning people needs even those expectations that users are not conscious yet.