This year I thought we’d invest a little (more like a lot–>$6000) of our book budget into the ebook mix. After trying to figure out what the dominant player is in the fieid, we at my school decided to go with Overdrive. With our pending launch date the end of this week, I am doing exactly as I planned–learning. Learning positives, and sadly, negatives.
Why Overdrive? Go with what ya know.
Our decision to go with Overdrive stemmed from my co-librarian and I having experience using the platform with the public library, and me with YaSync these last two summers. We have already cultivated a strong relationship with our public library’s teen librarian, and in conjunction with her, have a BYOB club (bring your own book) that meets about monthly.
On the sidelines no more
I’ve stood for two years on the sidelines watching the ebook discussion and implementation among my knwoedgeable friends, and finally decided in order to develop a better understanding we needed to get in. So based on our own Overdrive experience and our partnership with the public library in our area, we decided to go with Overdrive.
Other vendors we use will naysay
It was pointed out to me (by another vendor no less) that Overdrive is definitely a dominant player, but they will not be able to help a new problem created for schools–that of the adobe software needed to make Overdrive work. Seems it requires one to download from Adobe to connect to Overdrive, and it is user AND machine specific. I have forty workstations in my library, so the forty that try to use a BYOD at school will be the only ones who can use Overdrive at school from that point on. It was pointed out that is why Oerdrive is so very popular in the public library world. Most connect form home. It was pointed out to me this is why Overdrive isn’t a logical school solution, unless you are in an one-to-one environment. Yikes. We are definitely not in a one to one environment–and really FAR from it.
Now I am still speaking from inexperience, but it is disappointing to know that this will be a problem for us. Our goal all along was to have a “bring your own device” program for digital books services. Have I erred in avoiding the ereader platform? Time will tell. I’m not even sure I have 40 students who have an ereader, though I know a good many have smart mobile phones. We have over 2500 students. Will we be able to meet their BYOD ebook need? I’ll report back later.
If you are not struggling, you are not learning
What is my positive? I am learning, but not necessarily what I want to learn. Is my learning going to be worth this minimum $6000 annual investment? Should I consider purchasing some devices for our school? Is this being a good steward with school money?? Far too many unanswered questions at this point. But I’m learning, uncomfy as it is.