increased steadily over the past five years, according to
Scholastic’s 2015 “Kids and Family Reading Report.” In 2010,
35% of kids had read at least one e-book, and in 2014 that
number was up to 61%. Most kids who read e-books do so at
home, but the percentage of children who read e-books at school
has jumped from 12% in 2012 to 21% in 2014.
Follett, which provides e-book content to 65,000 K– 12
Debate over the pros and cons of implementing e-books into schools continues to be robust in publishing and educational circles. But most observers agree that e-books are here to stay—at least for the foreseeable future, which is the best anyone can predict in an era of technological advances. As a new academic year kicks off and more students than ever have access to e-books, we take a look at where the educational e-book
market stands today and how those titles are being purchased
and used by schools.
The precise size of the educational e-book market is difficult to quantify because of the various ways e-books are packaged for sale to schools. According to the Association of
American Publishers elhi report for 2014, publisher revenue
for the pre-K– 12 categories that contain e-books (bundles,
standalone software, and platforms) breaks down into the following: bundles account for $1.2 billion, and standalone software and platforms account for $382 million, for a combined
total of roughly $1.6 billion.
Not surprisingly, the significant revenue from, and growth
potential of, the educational use of e-books means that more
companies monitor the scope and the trends of this market
segment, as the publishers, distributors, and consumers of these
products work to find the best ways to work together. A January
2015 survey of 475 educators nationwide, conducted by
LightSail Education (a tablet-based literacy platform that partners with Baker & Taylor), revealed that 94% of respondents
expect that the share of books read as e-books in their schools/
districts over the next two years will increase, and 52% of
school/district leaders said they want their students to be
reading digital books.
Putting such expectations more concretely, 66% of schools
across the country currently offer e-books, according to the 2014
School Library Journal “Survey of E-book Usage in Schools.” That’s
a 10% increase over the previous year’s results from the same
survey. Participants noted that demand for e-books and circulation of e-books in school libraries rose a bit in 2014–2015.
The portion of children who have read at least one e-book has
HOW SCHOOLS BUY
AND USE E-BOOKS
A snapshot of today’s
BY SHANNON MAUGHAN
Share of total respondents
In 2 years
STUDENTS’ E-BOOK USAGE