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Massive growth predicted for e-books

Educators say they want integrated digital learning tools, assessments to drive literacy growth

e-book-techA new survey of 475 educators indicates that schools and districts see their use of classroom materials transitioning substantially from paper books to digital books over the next two years, according to LightSail Education.

An overwhelming majority of schools and administrators indicate a desire to build digital libraries rather than experiment with book rental and subscription models, but the market is still in its early stages.

The report, “State of the Digital Book Market,” is the first to analyze K-12 decision makers’ views on the transition from paper books to digital books and literacy platforms.

Next page: Key findings of the e-book study

Key findings of the report include:

  • K-12 decision-makers predict massive growth in the school-based e-book market.
  • The Library purchase model for e-books is favored by most education leaders, where a preference is established.
  • Educators show a clear preference for reading in digital texts moving forward, where a preference exists.
  • School and district leaders are actively seeking technology tools that support literacy instruction.

Remarkable e-book market growth expected in next 2 years:

  • Ninety-four percent of respondents expect that e-books will increase as a share of books read in their school/district over the next two years.
  • Fifty-eight percent report that e-books currently represent less than 10 percent of all books in their school/district.
  • Fifty-two percent expect that in two years, e-books will account for more than 40 percent of all books in their school/district.

Preference for library purchase model for e-books, with much of the market unclear on best option:

  • Forty percent want to purchase e-books in the library model, in which the school owns the texts, and students can check books in and out of a “digital library” on their devices.
  • Sixteen percent want a subscription service similar to “Netflix” where, for a monthly fee, students can access a broad library.
  • Four percent are interested in renting books through model that offers a single, time-limited checkout per rental.
  • Forty percent either were not sure which book model they wanted or did not have enough information to express a preference.

Migration to digital books embraced by school and district leaders:

  • Fifty-two percent want students reading in digital books.
  • Eight percent prefer paper books.
  • Forty percent expressed no preference for digital or paper books.

Strong demand for technology tools that support literacy instruction

  • Eighty-six percent have researched at least one technology tool for literacy, such as tools that assess students while reading, measure reading behaviors, or differentiate materials based on student reading level.
  • Fifty-eight percent have researched three or more such tools.

“With a record 10 million tablets and computers sold into US schools last year, district leaders and decision makers are gearing up to make a major shift to from print to digital,” said Gideon Stein, Founder and CEO of LightSail Education. “The results of this survey strongly suggest that schools are looking to build digital libraries where they own their content outright rather than experiment with models like book rentals or subscriptions.”

The survey also found that e-books are used across instructional models in schools, with especially consistent use for independent reading; ninety percent of survey respondents indicated the use of e-books for independent reading.

The survey was sent to district and school leaders nationally, and respondents represented districts and schools in more than 35 states. Approximately 75 percent of respondents identified themselves as district administrators or school leaders. LightSail invited these individuals to respond to a survey about the eBook market, in order to understand their perspectives, and to inform its 400+ publisher partners of the needs of today’s educators.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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