OverDrive to Donate Popular Ebooks to 1,000 Elementary Schools

OverDrive, ebooks, audiobooks, appDigital reading platform Overdrive announced today that it is donating a collection of hundreds of popular ebooks to up to 1,000 elementary schools. The initiative is part of Overdrive’s marking its 30th anniversary.

School officials can click here to apply to receive the donation for their school through the end of the school year.

Overdrive partnered with several publishers on the initiative, including Lerner Publishing Group, Britannica Digital Learning, Open Road Integrated Media, Dawn Publications and ABDO. The donated ebooks span a variety of subjects for young readers, and include Read-Alongs, interactive titles that sync recorded narration with highlighted words as the narrator reads.

The ebooks are part of Overdrive’s K-5 QuickStart reading program, and can be opened instantly in a student’s browser with no app or downloads required. As part of the program, students can read the same ebook at the same time in class and at home, both online and offline.

“OverDrive is constantly championing literacy and expanding opportunities for students to read in the classroom, library and at home,” said Herb Miller, director of education at OverDrive. “The ebooks in this reading program enable students instant access to quality digital books, anytime and anywhere. It’s the perfect way to celebrate 30 years of our commitment to reading.”

OverDrive’s donation is open to Title 1-eligible pre-Kindergarten, elementary and middle schools that serve students in pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade and are located in the United States and its territories.

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One thought on “OverDrive to Donate Popular Ebooks to 1,000 Elementary Schools

  1. Michael W. Perry

    Always read the fine print, or in this case the text at the top of the school sign up. The offer isn’t quite as generous as their press release suggests. Here’s what their sign-up page says:

    “Your K-8 students can enjoy 200 premium eBooks free for an entire year! OverDrive is giving back and is donating eBooks to elementary schools in 2017. We invite teachers, administrators, librarians and others primarily serving young readers to apply for this donation.”

    Those “hundreds” turn out to be the minimum amount that qualifies for that term—200. They couldn’t even make it 250 or so. And that’s only for “an entire year.” Is there any other kind of year? After that, we must assume that the school, having gone to the bother and expense of installing OverDrive software, will start paying. And yes, this is like the first-year discounts that cable companies give us as a prelude to jacking up our prices, year by year, far faster than inflation.

    Smart schools will ignore this offer. They can get thousands of free books from the Gutenberg Project and their audiobook equivalent from Librivox for free with no limit in numbers and no year-only strings attached. They include the greatest books published before 1923 and are ideal for reading by K-8 children. Classics remain classics.

    I’m starting to understand why today’s young adults have given up on life. The tasks they face seem hopeless. Many of those older than them—from my baby boomer generation down—are a sorry lot, obsessed with money to the exclusion of all else. Nor is politics the only area where that’s obvious.

    That attitude is particularly common in the tech world. It explains the rapidly rising prices for cable services. It explains the new Apple laptops, stripped of useful features but priced hundreds of dollars more. It explains Adobe’s decision to release—after a year and a half—an InDesign 2017 that’s virtually indistinguishable from InDesign 2015. Last but not least, it explains this ploy to get schools to sign up for OverDrive services that are likely to prove costly in the long run. Everywhere you look, the tech world wants to offer less but charge more and to cover up their deceptions with marketing buzz.

    There are always exceptions, and that’s certainly true in the corporate world. Those who’d like to hear a different approach to business ethics might want to read Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World’s Most Successful Companies by Charles Koch. Read it if you want to understand what’s gone wrong at Comcast, Apple, Adobe and a host of other companies—not to mention our politics. Read it if you’d like know why so much politicized fury has been directed at the Koch brothers.

    And read it if you’d like to return to believing that we can turn this mess around.



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