eBooks in K12

I’ve been absent for a little while, been a little crazy with work and a variety of projects. One thing I keep coming back to though is eBooks in the education market; due partly to the fact that I have sold K12 books for over a decade. I’ve sold eBooks in K12, Higher Ed, Public Libraries, I even produce and create eBooks, so anytime one of the many pubs I know starts taking about their digital plan and eBooks, I perk up, because I want to know what their approach will be. I also perk up when vendors start touting they are selling eBooks, more on that in a bit.

The biggest challenges for any library now are budget, time and buying the right type of content, whether that be in print or digital. What I am seeing and have been in all ed markets has been the push of eBooks but being sold as PDF, which in all honesty, isn’t really an eBook. Sure you can put it into a reader platform, usual adobe digital editions and dress it up pretty, as many vendors are currently doing for K-12, but that doesn’t make it an eBook. Even when I sold them that way, I knew the better models were there, ePub and mobi. The thing is, once you put your content into a web environment, especially for K-12, you are more aligned with databases then you are eBooks. This is due to the nature of the content being in that environment and that is fine, but you see way too many companies, from follett to mackin to others touting eBooks, when what they are selling, is a pdf version, often static of a print book. Some times there are bells and whistles, but not often.  I won’t get into B&T’s blio since it seems to pretty much have failed and nobody does anything with it really, even though they say pubs are, I haven’t found any that even know of it or use it.

Now I’m not trying to slam anyone here, I give them credit for trying, although they are late to the game and many including myself told them this 2-4 years ago, but we were just looked at with blank stares or like we were lunatics.  What I want is for every librarian and teacher in K-12 to think about; are you just being shown the shiny new toy in one hand and blocked from the truth that’s being hidden in the other hand?  I challenge you to ask your vendors and push the publishers you work with to come up with better models, especially in nonfiction and fiction. Really look at the vendors and see if they actually know what they are even talking about as well or did they just jump on a bandwagon and join the crowd.  I only pointed out a few vendors above, not throw them to the wolves, but if that happens, so be it, but there are more and more vendors out there selling the same way. The point is to question, always ask a question, find someone from the company or hell, probably someone outside of the companies to ask about this, hire them for your district on a short-term contract basis to advise you on your libraries digital strategy, it’ll be money well spent to have someone who will be straightforward and honest with you.  Also, connect with others and see what they are doing, people such as Buffy Hamilton who I know, she’s done some interesting things with her library.

If you’ve had a good or bad experience with someone, share it, no censor here, unless your rant goes completely crazy, then I’ll have to step in mildly.


About eBookNoir

eBook design, Publishing, Consulting, Marketing, metadata, TOC, everything digital, books, books and more books. If it involves publishing, i want in... View all posts by eBookNoir

4 responses to “eBooks in K12

  • eBooks in K12 « eBookNoir « Ebooks Extra

    […] post: eBooks in K12 « eBookNoir Comments […]

  • Character Education

    I don’t think ebooks are the good idea for K-12 students. I always suggest ebooks for high schools.

  • Peter S. Hart

    Without getting into a long, drawn out argument here, your comment earlier that “…PDF, which in all honesty, isn’t really an eBook…” merely marks you as an ignorant snob. The term “e-book” means, by definition, “electronic book,” and if PDF is not electronic, I don’t know what is. Just because it’s not in EPUB or MOBI format does not make it worthless as a vehicle for the transfer of information, nor does it not make it a book. There are great examples out there of e-books that make full use of the PDF format as books, just as there are sad examples of EPUB and MOBI e-books that show that the formatter could barely make the words show up on the page.

  • Jodi Johnson

    With the rising cost of textbooks in schools and colleges, e books(.pdf, .epub, .mobi, .aeh, azw & more are all e-book formats) are the way to save on expenses as well as support a greener ecosystem. Schools of present era are stepping ahead in providing environments rich with technology for the enhanced growth and understanding of #K-12 students. Know how #CK-12Flexbooks have terminated the dependency on the monolithic textbooks.

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