Open eBooks is a free app that allows students from Title I schools or students with special needs to download eBooks for free. The student may download 10 eBooks at a time for 56 days from a selection of thousands. The student will need an access code and PIN provided by the child’s teacher or librarian when the app is first installed. The access code can be specific to a grade group – elementary, middle school, or high school – or one code can access all levels. I’ve seen the app using the elementary code and personally have the app using the middle school code installed. Once downloaded, the book may be read without Internet access.
The app is currently available on iOS and Android and uses the EPUB3 standard. A web-optimized version and PDFs are expected sometime this year (2016). The app on my iPad offers a choice of font type, font size, background colors (white, beige, black), and a brightness control.
Any adult who works in a Title I (or Title I eligible) school, a program or library that serves at least 70% of children from in-need families, or a program that works mostly with students with special needs can sign up with First Book at firstbook.org/openebooks. Once signed up, educators can request access codes for Open eBooks at fbmarketplace.org/openebooks.
Open eBooks provides access to titles from the following publishers:
- Bloomsbury: Providing unlimited access to over 1,000 of its most popular titles.
- Candlewick: Providing unlimited access to all relevant children’s and young-adult eBook titles in their catalog.
- Cricket Media: Offering full digital access to all of its market-leading magazines for children and young adults, including Ladybug and Cricket.
- Hachette: Offering access to a catalog of their popular and award-winning titles.
- HarperCollins: Providing a vast selection of their award-winning and popular titles.
- Lee & Low: Providing unlimited access to over 700 titles from this leading independent publisher of multicultural books.
- Macmillan: Providing unlimited access to all of the K-12 age-appropriate titles in their catalog of approximately 2,500 books.
- National Geographic: Providing unlimited access to all of their age-appropriate content.
- Penguin Random House: Committing to provide an extensive offering of their popular and award-winning books.
- Simon & Schuster: Providing access to their entire e-catalog of books for children ages 4-14, comprised of 3,000 titles.
Although I’ve enjoyed reading eBooks for a few years through the OverDrive app, checking out books from the Lexington Public Library, I was disappointed in the limited selection of children’s books The selection from the Lexington Public Library is always improving but this will make a great addition – and it’s great that the eBook app is customizable to a specific grade group Please let me know what you think!