McGraw-Hill And Pearson Back iPad Textbook Startup Inkling

Top education publishers McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHP) and Pearson (NYSE: PSO) have invested in Inkling, a startup that is adding uber-interactive features to textbooks downloaded via its iPad app; for instance, a textbook supported by Inkling would allow multiple students reading the same book to ask questions of each other and tap on key terms to look up definitions. The startup currently has only 14 titles in its library — but lists an additional 42 as “coming soon.”

As part of the investment, McGraw-Hill and Pearson say they will also bring more than 100 new textbooks to Inkling, including their top undergratuate titles.

Clearly, the startup’s success will depend on how many students actually buy iPads — or how many schools buy them for their students. Inkling says that by now having a full library of textbooks “institutions can move forward with confidence knowing there will be fantastic content available on iPad for all of their students.” A rival, Kno, is betting instead that students will want to read textbooks on specialized e-readers.