Friday, April 03, 2020
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E-Books and their Issues with School Libraries

We struggle with the different types/suppliers of e-books and the device(s) they can be read on.  I ‘m supplying information I believe to be correct – so someone please correct me if I am wrong.

To use Follett or Mackin purchased e-books – you need to use a computer, or a device with full Internet access.  You can link to their e-books through your library catalog (link in the MARC record) or through their own e-resource shelves (Follett Shelf & Mackin VIA)  Some titles are 1:1 use.  When 1 person is using that “copy” no one else can use it until it is “returned” or sometimes when it is closed.  Many of their books (mostly non-fiction) are now sold as unlimited simultaneous access for either 1 school, a level (ie all middle schools) or an entire district.  Of course the price varies depending on the type of access you are purchasing.  These unlimited, simultaneous use titles require the use of a login/password.  You can have links in your Destiny MARC records, or they can (and I think do automatically) also show up in either the Follett Shelf or Mackin VIA.  The problem with using the “e-shelves” is that you only see the e-books or e-databases that you purchased from that vendor/jobber – or that are free (if Follett or Mackin will add them for you) or that the original vendor allows access to through another interface.

So, you cannot access the Mackin or Follett e-books on a non-Internet Nook or Kindle.  You can on a Nook Color or Nook Tablet, as well as on the Kindle Fire and tablets/iPads.  You would be accessing the titles through the Internet to link to Mackin VIA or Follett Shelf (or Destiny) – not downloading them as a book onto the device as you would a book purchased through Amazon or Barnes & Noble (or downloaded for free from sites such as Project Gutenberg which have links to free books in the public domain or sites that provide free access to Creative Commons titles.)  We are using all of these combinations at various schools.  

If you want a device that can access all of these types/delivery methods of e-books you may want to purchase iPads, tablets or small laptops.  You can get apps for Nook, Kindle and Destiny.  Another caveat, while there are some exceptions, the legalize from Amazon and Barnes & Noble is that for school use, books are purchased in a 1:1 agreement.  You purchase 1 copy and can only load/access it on 1 device.  (Unlike for home/personal access where you can purchase 1 copy & access it on up to 6 devices.)  I know some schools (especially with Amazon/Kindle) are loading to more than one device, but this is not the current intent of the company.

We are providing links in Destiny to all of the various e-books that our schools own.  If it is purchased from Follett, Mackin or is a free e-book, they can click on the link in the MARC record to be taken to the login screen (if required) and then to read the book.  If it is for e-books purchased for Nooks or Kindles, we catalog the devices, and then I provide 700 (author) and 740 (title) links to all books purchased for a particular Nook or Kindle.  

Not sure if this is helpful or makes things more confusing