Ebook platforms investigated
For the past 12 months I have kept a close eye on the ebook market. So much has been discussed about the various ebook platform providers such as Overdrive and Wheelers E-books. Much research and head scratching has been endured.
The overwhelming consideration was to ensure we moved into the ebook sphere and provide such a service to the students and staff of OLMC – after all we are living in the technology-rich 21st Century. For us (the OLMC Library) to continue to forge our way into being a networked school community we need to ensure we offer a range of resources 24/7 to continue the vision of being a “library without walls”. The opportunity to offer students and staff literature and non-fiction books from the comfort of their homes directly to their iPad, e-reader, laptop or other device via our LMS was a must.
Cost was a major factor in our deliberations. We couldn’t justify at this point approx. $4000 (Au) for Overdrive. Wheelers Ebooks, a New Zealand company, was our chosen platform for the following reasons:
* the ebooks we purchase are OWNED by the school even if we decided to go with another platform down the track. To my knowledge other ebook providers licence their ebooks rather than allow libraries to own titles.
* cost. At just over $1000 (including GST) we were able to set up a platform that integrates into our library management system (V-Library) in the lending out of titles and it works with SCIS. There’s no annual spend on books and the annual cost of hosting is much cheaper.
* the ebooks can be read on most devices, including iPads, laptops, tablets, most ebook readers, iPhones
* we received a good amount of credit to get us started with the purchase of ebooks. There’s also many popular Project Gutenberg titles available too for free.
* loans automatically expire after the loan period and returned in readiness for the next reader.
* the ebooks contained DRM software designed for the Australian market.
* there’s quite a bit of Australian content in both fiction and non-fiction titles.