The iPad is an excellent device for consuming content. From watching videos on its crisp 9.7″ screen to grabbing the internet with your fingers, the iPad provides consumers a great experience on the go.

The iPad is also great for reading books, either through iBooks, Kindle, or another third-party application. However, textbooks have yet to take off on the iPad — until now.

Inkling is a free textbook platform that merges text with interactive information. 3D images are implemented inline with text to help better explain the chapter. Videos are also embedded to explain the topic like only a teacher could.

When you first download the free application, inkling will open The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. as free content. You have complete freedom as to how you enjoy this sample content, and if you are in college, you have the option of downloading more textbooks from the inkling store, although I’d like to note additional books aren’t free. To save some money though, you are allowed to buy individual chapters of a book .

Inkling also uses social connectivity to bring reading into the 21st century. For instance, you have the ability to highlight text or take notes in your virtual textbooks.

This information can then be shared with fellow students or teachers, who then have the option of responding to your original note. Social networks aren’t just for obscene pictures and mindless small talk anymore; now they help you learn.

Overall, Inkling is a unique concept with solid principles and a great vision. Unfortunately, its selection of titles is limited right now. But for zero cost, there’s little reason not to download the app and see it for yourself. Just don’t expect your entire fall semester to be on your iPad this year.

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