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Is Apple studying the e-textbook market?

An Apple event scheduled for Jan. 19 has insiders speculating the technology giant will announce its entrance into the e-textbook market.

In advance of the education-themed event, tech website betanews.com compiled a list of Apple’s potential U.S. competitors, which includes Amazon’s e-textbook rental program and online distributor CourseSmart.

CondĂ© Nast tech website Ars Technica suggests Apple isn’t interested in becoming a content provider, but will announce production tools that will allow anyone to publish interactive e-books for distribution on Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Last week, eBound Canada, the digital arm of the Association of Canadian Publishers, announced a partnership with Follett Canada that would give elementary and secondary schools greater access to titles by independent Canadian publishers.