May 7, 2014 Last Updated 12:04 pm

Publishing news: McGraw-Hill Education chooses Inkling Habitat platform; Culinate releases Joy of Cooking app

Lots of news on the digital book publishing front as major publishers work with digital partners. Surprisingly, few of these established publishers have made acquisitions, but are instead signing agreements. It is hard to say whether this represents a lack of cash to make acquisitions, a desire not to go into debt to make them, or simply that these publishers are still experimenting.

Here are two press releases from McGraw-Hill and Simon and Schuster. Disclosures: I used to work at McGraw-Hill, though not in the Education division; and I reached out to Culinate to get more information and speak to someone about their app, but only heard that they would forward a press release (update: good news, Culinate’s marketing person got back to me and now I will be able to feature the new book app on Monday as part of Books on Monday).

1. McGraw-Hill Education selects Inkling…

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – May 7, 2014 — Inkling, the leader in collaborative cloud publishing, announced today that McGraw-Hill Education has selected Inkling Habitat, the award-winning cloud-publishing platform, for building McGraw-Hill Education’s next-generation learning products. Inkling Habitat is an authoring, content management and distribution platform for professional digital content. McGraw-Hill Education, which delivers engaging, adaptive and personalized learning solutions to students, will use Habitat to create natively digital content as a part of its learning solutions.

“McGraw-Hill Education’s ambitious product roadmap will be accelerated by the scale, reliability and ease-of-use of Inkling Habitat as a core authoring platform”

Inkling-screen-lgThe development of these next-generation learning solutions is part of a three-year partnership agreement between McGraw-Hill Education and Inkling that builds on the two company’s long-standing relationship. McGraw-Hill Education’s staff will use Inkling Habitat to create interactive, modular content that will function gracefully on any device, from mobile phones to desktop PCs.

McGraw-Hill Education is moving further beyond the traditional textbook to offer dynamic software solutions to meet the needs of today’s students. With this agreement, a growing list of adaptive, media-rich and interactive learning products will be powered by Inkling’s powerful authoring and content management platform.

“We are excited to partner with the Inkling team. In Inkling and Habitat we found an organization and a solution that shares our vision and values,” said Stephen Laster, McGraw-Hill Education’s Chief Digital Officer.

“McGraw-Hill Education’s ambitious product roadmap will be accelerated by the scale, reliability and ease-of-use of Inkling Habitat as a core authoring platform,” said Inkling CEO, Matt MacInnis. “We’re inspired by their vision for how learning outcomes can be improved by technology, so it’s exciting to be a part of reshaping the education landscape with McGraw-Hill Education.”

2. Simon & Schuster launches Joy of Cooking app

The classic Joy of Cooking transformed American cooking when it was originally published in 1931. Now, JOY is once again revolutionizing the kitchen—this time as a cooking app for iPad®. The new app is a gorgeous-to-behold digital package with all of the recipes, history, charm, and advice cooks have come to love in the book. Available for $9.99 on the Apple App Store, the app combines the contents of the most recent edition of the Joy of Cooking in its entirety—thousands of recipes, references, and illustrations¾with sophisticated app-only features that make planning and cooking easier than ever.

JoyofCooking-iPadThe JOY app’s highlights include:

  • An easy-to-use search function, with filters that allow users to narrow searches by key ingredient, type of dish, cooking technique, and more
  • Simple-to-use, smart shopping lists
  • Recipe steps that can be spoken by the app and voice-controlled by the user
  • Built-in conversions for metric users
  • Color photographs
  • Custom timers
  • A favorites feature that allows users to keep track of favorite recipes
  • JOY’s trademark “red ribbon” bookmark to hold multiple locations within the app
  • Social media-friendly options and the ability to email and print recipes
  • A menu-building feature
  • An option that prevents the screen from dimming while you cook
  • All-inclusive functionality; no internet connection required

Named one of the twenty essential cookbooks by the James Beard Foundation and listed by the Library of Congress as “one of the eighty-eight books that shaped America,” the Joy of Cooking was originally published by Irma Rombauer in 1931. Now, more than 80 years later, her great-grandson John Becker and his wife, Megan Scott, have helped develop the app. The app represents a unique collaboration between Joy of Cooking’s longtime publisher Scribner and the leading cookbook app developer Culinate.

“With the release of this app, JOY truly arrives in the 21st century,” said John Becker. “We have worked very closely with Culinate to make JOY’s vast collection of recipes, tips, and reference information more accessible and useful than ever before. The result is the essential culinary companion¾in the kitchen and the grocery aisle.”

“The Joy of Cooking has been a steadfast companion in each of the kitchens of my life,” said James Berry, Culinate’s CEO. “It’s indispensible. We at Culinate are grateful for the opportunity to bring this incredible kitchen resource to the digital space.”

“Over the years, many people have approached the Rombauer-Becker family and Scribner with various digital opportunities for the Joy of Cooking,” said Susan Moldow, President of the Scribner Publishing Group. “It was not until Culinate came along―with their successful history of great cooking apps—that we felt we’d finally found the right partner. Culinate’s vision both preserves and amplifies Joy’s unique qualities in an app that is sure to be the new gold standard. We’ll all wonder how we got along without it.”

Marion Rombauer Becker, Irma Rombauer’s daughter, updated subsequent editions of the Joy of Cooking through 1975. Marion’s son, Ethan Becker, revised the 1997 edition for the 2006 75th Anniversary Edition. That new classic features thousands of recipes, hundreds of pages of reference material, 26 graphs and charts, and 238 illustrations, and has been a trusted kitchen companion for nearly a decade. Ethan’s son, John, and his wife, Megan, joined the family business in 2011 and were integral to bringing this iconic American brand into the digital age.

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