Apple jumped into the digital textbook publishing business by launching new applications like iBooks 2 and iBooks Author at a media event in New York Thursday.

According to the company, it wants to make it easier for people to publish and consume educational content and is giving the tools away free of cost. But be clear enough that the Cupertino tech giant is not in a mood of doing any charity. Apple is aiming for an $8-billion dollar per year industry, it has been reported.

A report by Engadget has highlighted the economics behind Apple's new e-textbooks. According to the report, the company has given authors the ability to set their own prices as long as they remain $14.99 or under.

The move is expected to be a real game-changer for college students since college-level textbooks typically cost anywhere between $100 and $300. Even the used copies are also quite expensive compared to the price cap that Apple has set for publishers, iDownloadBlog has reported.

The report says even if the publishers lose quite an amount of money on the cost of each book because of this big price drop, they seem to make up that loss in the total volume they will sell at the end.

What will Apple get? Well, the paid downloads of e-textbooks will follow Apple's traditional App Store and iBookstore model, which means that it will take its usual 30 percent cut of the purchase price of each book.

Engadget has said Apple wants all iBooks Textbooks to be iBookstore exclusive. According to an iBooks Author FAQ, authors are allowed to distribute their books free of charge through their own Web sites, but they have to do it through the iBookstore. iBooks Textbooks can't be offered under any subscription-based access programs.

Any e-textbook author that wants access to the iPad-toting masses must make his or her work an exclusive to iBooks 2. So there you have it folks, if you want to take a gander at these awesome new e-textbooks, you'll have to jump on the iOS bandwagon, Engadget has reported.

Key Features of iBooks 2:

iDownloadBlog has listed some of the key features of Apple iBooks 2.

- Books feature dramatic intro movies

- Use multitouch gestures to peruse the books

- Rich engaging features like 3D models

- Interactivity

- Authors have total freedom in terms of laying out text and graphics

- Rotating in portrait mode retains traditional book layout

- Index links in back of book

- Interactive glossary

- Quick jumping to specific page numbers

- Highlighting, note taking and instant feedback

- Integrates directly with iBookstore

Watch the video demonstration below: