Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

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eBooks anyone? Free resources, format suggestions and more.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yes, eBooks will be the future, but right now the industry is still young and publishers have not embraced the digital world fast enough for most of us.  There are a lot of formats, and Wikipedia has a great article "Comparison of e-book formats"  It makes it tough as a director of school technology to decide what format to recommend, because you do not want to bet on the wrong format, and have a lot of eBooks that are not really supported. (Think Beta vs. VHS or HD DVD vs. Blu Ray.)  And, as my resent tweet suggests, publishers want to protect their gold mines and not embrace the digital world. Tweet: "Publishers may limit number of times a library can checkout an eBook. This is Pathetic "

The disappointing part for school libraries and school districts is that most of the companies that offer eBooks, such as Kindles or Nooks, lack the management capabilities that a school district needs. How would you like to checkout a Kindle to a student, and have that Kindle tied to a school credit card where they can buy any book they want! There are many other management issues similar to the problems associated with iPads or other tablet devices in school districts. The sad part is, this hinders adoption and timelines for implementing those new technologies and resources. Maybe there is some hope... I have not used Calibre, but it looks like it has a lot of potential for libraries to manage eBooks and the price is right (Free).

There are several resources for free eBooks. Do not forget to look for free books in what ever device you are using.  I know the Kindle (as well as others) has a nice selection of free books, you just need to search for them. This article "How to Find Free ebooks for Nook" has a nice resource listing for finding free eBooks for all devices and formats. Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg, is often mentioned as a starting point for free eBooks in education.  And to find some more great eBook resources.... follow my advice to teachers and students... just Google it.

And another exciting blog post will be coming soon....  Install Android 3 (Honeycomb) on your removable SD card on your Nook, so you can turn a Nook into a Android tablet.  All for $250!


EMS Media Center News said...

A few more eBook / audio book sites:

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