Is Apple Set to Revolutionize the Textbook Industry? CNBC

Is Apple Set to Revolutionize the Textbook Industry?

The textbook industry has been waiting for its big digital revolution but so far, it’s been slow going. Apple may be aiming to change that with an announcement that the company has planned for Thursday in New York City. It’s amazing to think that in this digital age, students still start the school year with 10 year-old textbooks with “I love Mike” doodled in the inside cover. Why has the technology been so slow to catch up and how can this finally be changed? The word is that Apple is planning to sell textbooks through its iBooks store directly from textbook publishers such as McGraw-Hill . Apple could also be aiming to integrate those book sales with course material currently offered on iTunes U, Apple’s education portal which allows schools and universities to distribute lesson plans, lab films, and audiobooks through Apple’s free software. In Steve Jobs’ recently-published biography, author Walter Isaacson writes that the textbook industry was one Jobs desperately wanted to change. He had visions of the textbook as a live, document that would include videos, live Web-based text, and other interactive elements. If Apple has achieved this, it could change not only the way textbooks are created, but consumer-aimed literature as well. Digitizing educational material is not a new concept to the publishing industry. They’ve been at it for years with very little success.
Students don’t seem to like the Kindle or other eReaders for te[tbooks because there are so many limitations where students need flexibility: annotation, note taking, highlighting, quick cross referencing, etc. There are apps that allow you to organize your educational life but they don’t integrate with current electronic coursework. And Ama]on does save bookmarks and highlights of your eBooks in the cloud but they are not easy to find, share, and interact with and they don’t integrate with other course material.
If Apple aims to sell truly interactive textbooks through iBooks, it could mean a big boost for the iBooks store, which does not sell anywhere near the volume of digital books that Amazon does through the Kindle store. This could equate to big bucks when you consider how expensive textbooks are in comparison to pop novels. Not to mention that Apple takes a 30 percent cut of every book that is sold through the iBooks store, an industry standard.
Does this mean that all students will get iPads in order to take advantage of Apple’s education plan? Probably not very realistic, although don’t rule it out forever. iPad distribution programs in public schools are being tested in every state in the country. For now, Apple could launch a new textbook and publishing initiative which allows students to access books and other supplementary course material through its free iTunes software, as well as through iPad and other iOS devices for those who have them.
There has also been talk of Apple making a self-publishing tool for interactive textbooks ² like an iMovie for books. I’m less convinced on this one. Why would Apple make an announcement that would compete with publishing companies in New York City, the heart of the publishing industry? My guess is that book publishers are on board with this one and crossing their fingers that it is the digital revolution that they have been waiting for. After all, digital textbooks could mean yearly subscription revenues. Those old “I love Mike” textbooks only make them money about once a decade.

8 Ways Leaders Can Motivate Employees Beyond Money

8 Ways Leaders Can Motivate Employees Beyond Money

By: Martin Zwilling

Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that their primary motivation is to “change the world” and to build something lasting, not to make a lot of money. But the conventional wisdom is that employees work for money, above all else. Yet my own experience, and a recent McKinsey survey, leads me to believe that non-cash motivators may be more effective in the long term than financial incentives.

I agree with Charles P. Garcia, who ties motivation most strongly to leadership, in his book “Leadership Lessons of the White House Fellows,” based on this group of more than 600 prominent leaders from every sector of American society. They assert that employees value having strong leaders, who incent them to do their best, just as much if not more than money.

For action, he provides a list of principles for entrepreneurs and managers alike, derived from his first-hand discussions with some of the nation’s greatest leaders. We all need to learn from these as we rebuild employee morale following tough economic times, with limited budgets:

  1. Energize your team. Instead of being the type of leader who sucks the energy away from others, resolve to be the kind of leader who strives to bring passion and positive energy to the workplace every day. Your employees have just helped you pull your company through one of the nation’s worst economic periods. It’s time they had a source of positive energy.
  2. There’s more to life than work. Great leaders have deep reserves of physical, spiritual, and emotional energy, and that energy is usually fueled by a strong and supportive relationship with the people they love, regular exercise, a healthy lifestyle, and setting aside time for reflection.
  3. Put your people first. No organization is better than the people who run it. The fact is that you are in the people business—the business of hiring, training, and managing people to deliver the product or service you provide. If the people are the engine of your success, to be a great leader you need to attend to your people with a laser-like focus.
  4. Act with integrity. In a time when news reports are filled with the stories of private and public leaders who’ve acted inappropriately and have gone against the best interests of their employees or constituents, showing your employees that you value integrity can help motivate them and create a sense of pride for your organization.
  5. Be a great communicator. Leadership is influencing others, and this cannot be achieved without effective communication. If you’re struggling with communicating to your employees, first work on your ability to influence individuals by choosing words that are impactful to carry your message. Then you need to figure out how to communicate to a larger audience.
  6. Be a great listener. The most effective leaders are the ones who take the time to listen not just to their team members’ words but to the priceless hidden meaning beneath them. Remember that during good times and bad, sometimes your employees just need someone to talk to. Communicate to them that you are always waiting with open ears.
  7. Be a problem solver. Post a sign above your office door that reads, “Don’t Bring Me Problems. Bring Me Solutions.” Then set about the task of guiding each person on your team toward the goal of becoming a top-notch problem solver during this crucial period.
  8. Lead through experience and competence, not through title or position. Mentor your employees, encourage them, make partners out of them, and your organization is sure to benefit. If you want to survive the tough economy, that’s exactly the kind of leadership motif you need for your organization.

The fundamentals of leadership don’t change between good times and bad. But when money is in short supply, these principles can be the difference between success and failure. Now is the time to start motivating your employees by applying these principles, and your team will lead you through the hard times.