Canadian company to focus on creating textbooks for the iPad
A trio of Ontario-based firms is joining forces to offer a suite of digital services to textbook publishers in North America.
AIC Publishing Services is a limited partnership comprising ArtPlus, a textbook packager that serves the Canadian K–12 market; Imagineering, which specializes in health sciences and deals primarily with U.S. higher-ed publishers; and Computer Composition of Canada, whose clients include professional associations such as the Chartered Accountants of Canada.
The new company will draw on clients of all three firms to create new digital products for the educational market.
“We primarily offer the capability of taking print products and converting them into products for the mobile space – that is, the iPad [or iPhone] – but doing it in such a fashion that we don’t simply create a digital page-for-page version of the printed book,” explains president Mike O’Hanlon. “We take the content and present it as is best suited for the medium being used.”
AIC already has a working relationship with the U.S. firm Inkling, which has developed a publishing platform for the iPad that supports multimedia and interactive content. He says not enough attention is being paid to creating content specifically for mobile devices.
“One of the things we’re looking to do is put Canada into a leadership position in this area,” he says. “We’re in a position of being one of the only North American sources of content for that product.”
With some U.S. schools purchasing iPads for classroom use, O’Hanlon believes there will be more demand for such interactive content in Canada and south of the border. It also makes financial sense for schools to shift their acquisitions toward digital content, he says.
“In the mobile realm you still have the same upfront costs for a title as you do in the print realm, but downstream you get away from the idea of buying a new textbook every three years,” he explains. “Because of the way it can be constantly updated, constantly renewed, it just makes way more sense as a teaching tool and becomes so much more cost-efficient because of the distribution model it follows.”
THIS STORY HAS BEEN CORRECTED: An earlier version of this story attributed a quote to Mike O’Hanlon comparing AIC Publishing Services to Inkling. In fact, AIC supplies content to the U.S.-based firm.