Apple will launch an online textbook store for South Africa in January to be called ZABooks, making primary and secondary school textbooks available via the book shop application.
The application – an initiative of the brand’s educational branch Apple in Education – will be available for free download from the App Store, and will initially offer 400 textbooks covering the full range of primary and secondary school subjects, although more titles will be continuously added.
In developing the app, Apple in Education has conducted extensive engagement with government and private education sector players. The application, however, will remain a private initiative by the company, and will not be affiliated with the government of South Africa.
The digital textbooks will be available in PDF format, and will boast features to facilitate study. Students will be able to annotate the text, add comments and highlight and bookmark sections, as with physical textbooks.
Despite the application being free, users will have to pay to view the online textbooks. No set price has been revealed as of yet due to the fact that individual publishers will be responsible for fixing the cost of a book.
South Africa has approximately 200 schools using iPads, and the company hopes that the applications will catch on in this educational community and more widely.