And iBooks Author, Apple's new electronic book creation and publishing tool, explicitly encourages teachers and students to use the tool to create books and distribute them for free.
Apple created iBooks author so that a sixth grader could use it to write a paper; a teacher could use it to cobble together a textbook for the whole class, and a Pulitzer-prize winning author could use it to create and publish serious fiction.
The strategy is designed, no doubt, to leverage the popularity of iPad in education to engender brand loyalty for iBooks Author tools, both for the creation and consumption of written and multimedia content.
I think Amazon's and Apple's relentless and costly marketing to children will pay off in the long run. As someone who has switched platforms on both desktop and mobile, it's clear that switching is difficult and requires a lot of motivation.
And that's why targeting children is such a powerful marketing strategy for platform companies. If you can deliver a person from high school already holding strong opinions about which computing or mobile platform they know and love, you've probably got a loyal customer for life.
Amazon’s new Kindle FreeTime Unlimited program takes the idea to a whole new level, both in the degree to which Amazon is willing to lose money in order to get kids in the habit of turning to Amazon and Kindle for content, and also in the age group, which starts with three-year-olds.
To paraphrase the late singer Whitney Houston, Amazon and Apple apparently believe that the children are their future.