My library recently made the leap to including eBooks in our collection. The biggest question I’ve received isn’t about the platform or the prices, but WHY. After answering this question to many fellow librarians, I decided I better just write a blog about it.
So – why eBooks?
This is my first year in my new school and I inherited an immaculate collection. Both fiction and non-fiction are very up to date, with all of the hottest books and a well rounded mixture of the timeless classics. The collection was recently weeded too (yippee) so we don’t have a lot of older materials cluttering the shelves.
Our school embraces BYOD (bring your own devices) and our 7th and 8th grade students are given an iPad mini (with plans to push to 6th grade in the 15-16 school year). When talking with my students about their favorite apps, students repeatedly listed the following apps (among others):
1. Anywhere – anytime!
3. Text Size
Books are expensive. Particularly ones with library binding. We’ve tried our luck with paperbacks but even with covers, they just don’t hold up. Our ‘well-loved’ hardbacks look pretty nasty after a year. And then there’s the issue of student’s moving away without returning items. This happens pretty frequently and while I know it’s not always the student’s fault, it is so frustrating.
Did you know that some eBooks have UNLIMITED, SIMULTANEOUS USE?
Amazon: $9.16 for 1 book for 1 user
MackinVIA eBook: $36.99 for 1 interactive eBook for UNLIMITED users (for life)
$36.99 gets you the same title with many more features (see a demo here) and all of your students could access it at the same time. Think of how that would benefit teachers doing class book studies? *Note: not all books are available as unlimited, simultaneous use (up to publisher)
5. It’s where the kids are
A part of me agrees that kids spend far too much time using technology. I’m guilty of it myself. But I’m not spending hours playing Flappy Bird or Farmville – I’m using it to be productive and usually I’m using it to learn. As teachers and librarians, our job is to show students how to find and use information. Ignoring the fact that students can read using technology is like ignoring the existence of Google. We have to show them how to use it. I did a quick poll and 50% of my students say they still prefer a print book over an eBook. Some of my fellow teachers made comments like “Yep – I thought so – we just aren’t ready for eBooks” HELLO!? There is still 50% of our students that PREFER an eBook! We can’t forget about them.
Right or wrong, I have decided to only purchase eBook titles that we can also purchase in print. I don’t want to force a student to use an eBook if they don’t want to, so I don’t want to purchase titles that are exclusively available as an eBook.
So there you have it. My Top 5 Reasons. Of course there are more, but I these reasons may apply to many of you. If you’re interested in starting an eBook collection, I urge you to look into it. There are many options out there and one of them is bound to fit the needs of you and your students.