When I was growing up, paper sacks were the only choice at the grocery store. Today, most stores use plastic bags and many people are bringing in their own cloth bags. When I go to the library, I expect to check out a book made of paper. But, why not re-writeable paper presented electronically on a piece of e-paper made of plastic and tiny electrical components? It serves the same function as paper, but doesn't require trees or batteries. Or, I might go to the library and check out a Kindle full of classic books.


After a decade building technology and an audience, electronic reading has hit the tipping point. According to an article in Publisher's Weekly, 49% of all publishers indicated that e-books are of high importance to their growth plans. They also note that the introduction of the iPad and price cuts in the Kindle have resulted in a significant increase in digital reading devices. However, they also note that 74 percent of college students still prefer a print textbook for classroom use.

eye means readRead New Survey on E-Book Trends from Publisher's Weekly (December 8, 2010), Digital Reader Penetration Accelerates from Publisher's Weekly (November 29, 2010), and Students and E-Books by the Numbers from Publisher's Weekly (November 1, 2010).

Many e-books are being sharing using multiple formats and devices. For instance, the International Children's Digital Library has a website with a built-in tool for reading e-books. There's also a free app that can be used on the iPad.

Go to What Are Ebooks from Corvallis-Benton County Public Library and explore a pathfinder on the topic of e-books. Also, notice how Montgomery County Public Libraries is sharing e-books.

eye means readRead more about e-books, e-paper, and e-ink with the resources on this page:



Over the past several years, e-book readers have become a popular tool for electronic reading. In the past issues of high cost an incompatibility have plagued the industry. However the recent wave of e-book readers has changed all of this. Calvin Reid divides the market for e-book readers into three categories: e-ink readers, phones/handhelds, and tablets.

eye means readRead Digital Readers: A Guide by Calvin Reid in Publisher's Weekly (November 15, 2010).

Increasingly, K-12 schools and universities are exploring electronic textbooks.

eye means readRead From Paper to Pixel: Digital Textbooks and Florida Schools by Partnerships Advancing Library Media (PDF).

Keep in mind that most e-books can now be read on multiple devices. For instance, the Kindle application from Amazon is available for iPhone, Windows, Mac, BlackBerry, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone.

eye means readGo to Kindles at the Unquiet Library and explore how one library is using Kindles. Watch the YouTube video Our First Student Checks Out a Kindle: Her Initial Thoughts On Reading on a Kindle to learn about one student's thoughts about checking out e-books.

Watch the following YouTube video titled A CVHS Student Shares Her Thoughts on the Kindle Reading Experience at The Unquiet Library to find out what a student thought about the e-book reading experience.

eye means readRead The High School Book Club - Now with Kindles by Pam Harland in Teacher Librarian (June 2010). This article explores how the Kindle was used for a teen book club. IUPUI account required for access.

eye means readGo to the Kindle website at Amazon and scroll down to watch the demonstration of their latest ebook reader.

Read the article Opinion: Why Amazon's Kindle is revolutionary by Mike Elgan in Computerworld. It contains a great list of features. Also read what bloggers are saying about the Kindle: Blue Skunk, School Library Media Activities Monthly, Cnet, and On the Run.

Alex and AnnetteE-paper and e-ink aren't quite ready for your library, but some electronic book technology is becoming common. Tools such as the LeapPad products from Leap Frog combine a paper book with a special reader.

In the photo on the left, I'm reading to my nephew using the LittleTouch LeapPad designed for infants and toddlers. We're reading a book called Let's Get Busy, Baby. This talking book introduces first words and interactive play.

Notice that he's wearing an ALA READ hat! At just eight months old, he seems to enjoy the different voices used in the e-books.

At the age four, this same little boy continues to love his technology, but he still expects to read three paper books (or chapters now that he's a big boy) before going to sleep at night (below left).

It's not a matter of technology being better or worse. It's the availability of options that makes technology wonderful. At six, Alex is now teaching his younger sister how to read on the iPad (below right)

readingiPad kids


Electronic Books

The quest to place books in an electronic format is now over thirty years old. In 1971, Project Gutenberg began the creation of a free library of public-domain electronic books. Today over 10,000 books are available.

For up-to-date ideas about using the Kindle in schools and libraries, subscribe to the EduKindle blog.

Read E-books: Ready for School Libraries? by Marjorie Pappas (October 2009) in School Library Monthly . IUPUI login required. Choose PDF Full Text and read pages 48-52.

Since the 1970s many types of hardware and software have been introduced including electronic books that can be read on desktop computers, laptop computers, handheld computers, or specialized hardware.

Go to Electronic Books and Online Reading from Teacher Tap to learn more about electronic books.

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E-Picture Books & Smart Books

Bob the BuilderA wide variety of interactive books are now available for young readers. Some are embedded in traditional books while others include supplemental readers.

Embedded Interactivity. The least complicated of these books simply contain a plastic or card board side panel that presents sound buttons associated with the book. The Bob Builds a Petting Zoo book on the left shows this type of book.

Electronic Readers. Many of the electronic books require a special portable reader. Most are battery powered. In some cases, a paper book is placed in the read and a module is placed in the reader.

Leap PadThe Leap Pad (on the right) is one of the most popular readers for young children. They currently produce a number of electronic readers for different ages including the My First LeapPad (ages 3 and up), LeapPad (ages 4 and up), and Quantum Pad (ages 8 and up). Other companies include Power Touch Books by Fisher Price, Story Reader by Publications International, Ltd.

Explore some of the following companies that provide these electronic books for young children.

Story Reader by PillbooksFisher Price

Many books are now available as Apps. Check out the Oceanhouse Media Apps where you'll find Dr. Suess, The Berenstain Bears, Little Critter, and more for the iPhone and iPad (shown below).

eye means readGo to the Little Critter page and explore samples of the Little Critter books.

Little Critter

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E-book Hardware and Software

Although some fiction is available on CD or DVD, materials are increasingly being shared online or as apps. Some books are produced in special e-book formats that can be viewed on a computer or a special ebook reader.

An ebook is a book delivered as an electronic file. Software is needed to run your ebook on your computer or your handheld device. Ebook formats include Kindle, Nook, and iBook. Some ebooks only require the regular Adobe software for PDF.

eye means readRead one of the six books in the Young Patriots Series. Patria Press is making these ebooks available for our class for preview. They would love to hear your comments.

E-book Hardware

You have three choices for viewing your e-book.

First, you can read an e-book on your computer or laptop.

Second, you can read an e-book on many devices including smart phones.

Third, you can read Kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook.


eye means readRead Pros and Cons of eBook Devices for Libraries from University of Rochester.


E-book Software

Some ebooks can be viewed using software that may already by installed on your computer. For example, some e-books are viewed in your web browser. Others are downloaded in PDF and use Adobe Reader to display the book. Still others require special software.

The EPUB format is the current standard for free and open e-books. Files with the .epub file extension have been saved in this format.

Explore some of the following companies that provide these electronic book readers and software:

Adobe Digital Editions
Although some books use the PDF format, Adobe is increasingly focusing on the use of Adobe Digital Edition.

The iBook app is available for the iPhone and iPad.

The Kindle software is available for Windows, Mac, and Kindle. In addition it's available for some smartphones and the iPad.

The Nook software is available for Windows, Mac, and Kindle. In addition it's available for some smartphones and the iPad.

E-book Purchasing

E-books are often sold online. Most e-books can't be returned, so be sure to keep your purchase information in case you "lose" your book. In many cases you can download it again. Be sure you order the version that will work with the software you've downloaded.

Use the following resources for more information:

Adobe eBook Mall
Links to many publishers.

Purchase ebooks for the Kindle.

Apple iBooks
Purchase iBooks.

Barnes and Noble
Purchase ebooks for the Nook.
Buy e-books and learn more about e-books.

Filament Software
eBooks for the eBook Reader

Information for schools and libraries, hardware and software, articles. They also have core collections for schools.

E-books for Children and Young Adults

Most publishers are now creating e-book versions of their print books for Kindle, Nook and/or iBook.

Random View Books
Random House provides background information about ebooks. Also do a search for eBooks. Or go to the master ebook list.

E-book Resources

This online resource provides the latest eBook news and information. Are they biased? Certainly, they believe that ebooks will eventually succeed in providing a more efficient and flexible means of spreading knowledge than paper books can provide. Extensive site provides technology information news, reviews of software, market and industry news, and more.

Planet eBook
Site focused on eBooks and eBook-related technologies and devices.

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E-paper and E-ink

Epaper from GyriconImagine a city without newspaper factories or magazine stands. When you sit down at the breakfast table, you simply press the UPDATE button on your morning paper. Yesterday's headlines dissolve and today's headlines appear. Possible or impossible?

Not just possible, it's here! Although not yet available everywhere, the technology currently exists. A wireless network can easily update the information on a page. The sign on the left is made of SmartPaper from Gyricon.

eye means readRead about the World's Largest epaper.

Current there are two competing technologies for electronic paper. One is produced at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), a subsidiary of Xerox Corporation for a company called Gyricon and the other is developed by the MIT Media Lab for a company called eInk. The company E-ink is the developer of the Kindle. They have a wide range of e-ink display products.

eye means readRead about e-ink at How Electronic Ink Will Work from How Stuff Works.
Read Electronic Paper by Ron Wilson for EETimes.
Read Electronic Reuable Paper from PARC (Palo Alto Research Center).

eInkAn explosion of announcements were made by eInk Corporation and others in the late 1990s related to the possible applications of electronic ink technology. Since that time, lots of developments have taken place and practical applications have been demonstrated, but consumer products are not yet readily available. For example in December 2004, Plastic Logic and eInk announced an agreement to produce flexible active-matrix displays like the one on the right.

To learn more about the epaper trends, try the following sources:

There are many articles about the possibilities of electronic paper. A few are listed below:


In addition to electronic books, audiobooks are another consideration. These books are designed for listening only.

Go to Librivox and explore many public domain audiobooks available.

For more information, go to the Multimedia Seeds course.

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