Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Pearson launches ebook apps with chapter purchasing

Pearson Education has released its first iPhone and iPad applications – ebooks that let consumers buy additional content chapters within the application.

The applications are geared toward home, office, technical and professional communities. Pearson said the applications, a new learning format for the company, were designed to complement its suite of other products such as print books, online reference libraries and video.

“The strategy is to make a key selection of our frontlist available to iPhone users,” said ,” said Mark Taub, editor in chief at Pearson Education, New York. “We know there is a market there for computer book content on mobile devices, and the iPhone is our current target.  

“But we will be rolling out solutions this year for Android devices as well,” he said.

Pearson is a global leader in educational and professional publishing. The company is home to brands such as Addison-Wesley Professional, Cisco Press and Prentice Hall Professional.

Free samples
The first application released is the iPhone Developer’s Library, which combines three books on Mac programming and iPhone application development.

In addition to the fully-populated iPhone Developer’s Library App, Pearson also offers free reader applications that contain one sample chapter from various best-selling Pearson books.

If consumers enjoy the one chapter sample, they can buy the remaining material through an in-application buying feature.

In the free applications, consumers can navigate the table of contents and black chapter listings. Red chapter listings are locked and available after buying the full application.

Current free books available include Effective Java, Mac OS X Snow Leopard in Depth, Microsoft Windows 7 Unleashed, All a Twitter, The Facebook Era and VCP Exam Cram: VMware Certified Professional: VMware Certified.

“The [free sample] strategy is really an extension of our strategy for conventional ebooks and print books,” Mr. Taub said. “We have been giving away free chapters of every book we publish on our Web site,, for several years now. 

“It’s natural to extend this to the iPhone and iPad, and the in-app purchase model allows us to do this easily,” he said.

Targeting techies
Pearson’s reader applications contain standard ebook features such as search, highlighting and hyperlinking.

The iPhone Developer’s Library application also features vertical and horizontal scrolling through long program code listings using the Code View feature specifically designed to benefit the technical audience.

Consumers can also access and reuse program code through the email feature.

Pearson’s is promoting the applications through and associated mailing lists, as well as through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The education company is targeting its marketing efforts at user groups and professional organizations directly.

“Our customers want access to our content in multiple formats, print, Web-streamed, PDF and on their mobile devices,” Mr. Taub said.

“It’s really the same demographic as we’ve been selling to for some time,” he said. “It’s just that they want the ease and portability of access on mobile devices.”