YUDU Explains: Textbook Apps
The Digital Publishing industry is replete with often confusing terminology that often appears meaningless not just to laymen, but industry veterans as well. As part of a series, YUDU will be running through some of the most common terms that appear in editorial write-ups and marketing material and explaining what they refer to in simple terms.
An explanation of the term
“Textbook apps” are essentially digital containers for textbooks that sit on mobile devices. These containers, in turn, are linked up to a publishing or content management system (CMS) of some kind that then allows the publisher to upload content, be it PDFs, interactive content like tests, video content, audio content and so on to said container. PDFs can then be enhanced with said rich media content and organized into various in-app categories and folders as needed.
These apps can be described as a sort of mini e-commerce storefront. The in-app purchasing methods that Apple and Google provide, as well as any supplementary transaction methods provided by the app developer mean that publishers can sell digital textbooks directly to students who download the app. Various kinds of distribution method can also be accommodated through subscriber management systems in the back-end and permission controls.
There are, generally speaking, two kinds of “textbook app”. The first is based around uploading existing content, such as print-ready PDFs and the second is based around the creation of HTML based content that sits within the app and is usually manipulated through an aforementioned CMS. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, but the latter kind is often referred to more broadly as “e-learning software” with “rich text content” that sits within.
Textbook Apps are essentially just a way of describing a method of digitizing textbook content for mobile devices, although what are described as “cross-platform” apps can often sit on desktop devices as well to ensure comprehensive workability across all types of device.
The workflow process
Suppose an educational publisher has a range of textbook titles they want to get into some sort of a digital format. Using YUDU as a convenient example, they could have us build a Textbook App for them, branded to their publishing house.
When the app was complete, they could then use our publishing system back-end (YUDU Publisher) to upload the relevant PDFs in a matter of minutes, ready for publishing into the container app.
If they have necessary enhancement pieces, such as quizzes in HTML5 formats, video content, audio content and so on, these could then be overlaid within the publication using pagination tools.
Finally, correct category metadata and permissions control data could be attached to the book, which would then be ready for publishing.
The process is of course, somewhat different for the above-mentioned types of E-Learning Software that employ rich-text layouts, but we’ll revisit that in a later post.
Are you interested in Textbook Apps? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.