Photo: Associated Press
We just tested one of the new textbooks for iPad.It was a free sample, so it was only two chapters.
But the file was huge, a whopping 985 MB. That’s almost a full gigabyte for just a fraction of a textbook. It took about 10 minutes to download.
That feels like a big problem.
Apple gives publishers a 2 GB file size limit for textbooks. (Although 9to5 Mac says some of Apple’s partners have books as large as 3 GB, so they do make exceptions.) If a textbook like “Life On Earth” (the one we tested) crams in as many videos, 3D models, etc. into the full version as it did in the first two chapters, there’s no way the file size will be under Apple’s limit.
That means textbook publishers will have to dial down all the fancy content in order to meet Apple’s requirements.
Still, that’s not the biggest problem with the large file sizes. Today’s iPads have relatively small storage with just 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB models available. It’ll be tough to fit a semester’s worth of 2 or 3 GB textbooks plus all your apps, music, videos, and games on one iPad, even if you do have the most expensive ($699) 64 GB model.
If you have a 16 GB model, you’ll only be able to fit about six or seven textbooks on it at most. And that’s assuming you don’t store anything else on your iPad. Keep in mind you have to account for iOS, which takes up almost a gigabyte of space too.