Students will need 64GB iPads to store multiple rich media iBooks

Apple’s updated iBooks 2 app supports highly interactive multimedia textbooks created by the new free iBooks Author software for Mac OS X. iBooks Author’s EULA lock-in clause has raised a ruckus (see: Publish an ebook created using iBook Author & lock yourself in Apple-land forever). However, there’s another problem that may be a showstopper for students and other people who want to use these multimedia iBook ebooks: Their iPad may not have enough storage space to house the ebook.

Let’s take a look at the ebook from the reknowned biologist E.O. Wilson. Two sample chapters are available for download and viewing right now.

E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth(National Edition) (iTunes Store)

This iBook includes video clips and interactive module which look great. These two chapters also weigh in at 965.2MB. The book’s prospectus (PDF) the complete course is broken down into 7 units, consisting of 62 topics, which are supported by 204 interactive modules. Assuming a “unit” is eqivalent to a chapter and that the introductory first chapter does not count as part of the 7 units, the completed book will have 8 chapters. If the remaining chapters have the similar multimedia content, the completed iBook may be 4GB large. People who use their iPads a lot (music, video, apps, user generated documents, ebooks, etc.) sometimes find the 16 and 32GB models can become short on space quickly. Students who want to have 4 books on an iPad will need at a 64GB for a comfortable fit.

FYI: If you are interested in creating your own multimedia iBook, you can refer to the 14-screenshot how-to article I wrote for BYTE: How To Make A Textbook With Apple’s iBooks Author