Apple releases iTunes 10.5.3 with iBooks 2 textbook syncing

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iTunes 10.5.3 was released by Apple on Thursday, bringing support for the new iBooks 2 application for iOS and allowing users to sync their textbook purchases.

The new version of iTunes is available for download direct from Apple. It is a 102.15MB installer for Mac OS X, 66.11MB for Windows 32-bit, and 67.98MB for Windows 64-bit.

"iTunes 10.5.3 allows you to sync interactive textbooks to your iPad," Apple's description reads. "These Multi-Touch textbooks are available for purchase from the iTunes Store on your Mac or from the iBookstore included with iBooks 2 on your iPad."

The release of iTunes 10.5.3 comes as Apple on Thursday launched the new iBooks 2 for iPad. The major focus of iBooks 2 are new digital titles for education that Apple hopes will reinvent the textbook.

Apple's e-textbooks are much less expensive than their paper-based counterparts, priced at $14.99 or less from major publishers like McGraw Hill, Pearson, and DK Publishing. The digital titles are interactive and allow students and teachers new functionality like videos, slideshows and multiple-choice quizzes.

The creation of iBooks for iPad has also been greatly simplified with Apple's new iBooks Author tool for Mac OS X. The new, free software available on the Mac App Store can take a file like a Word document and turn it into text formatted for iBooks 2.