Monday, August 4, 2014

In support of the HarperCollins ebook lending model for libraries

I must admit that my response is tempered by the fact that I and the other librarians in our district "purchase" the vast majority of our ebooks through OverDrive.   OverDrive hosts ebook and audiobook services and while we provide links to it on our library web pages, the site and server are independent of our district server and library sites.  I buy ebooks and audiobooks that are available only to the patrons of my library, just as a physical book would be.  OverDrive offers books from multiple publishers, including Macmillan, Random House, Penguin, Hachette, and HarperCollins (5 of the "Big 6" publishers).  While I believe that HarperCollins could have handled the initial announcement and change better, I support the change in their lending model.

HarperCollins is not the only publisher that meters (or limits) circulation of its books.   Some of Macmillan's imprints, such as Henry Holt & Co.) also offer metered access, while other subsidiaries provide unlimited access to their titles.   Random House and new (late 2013) Hachette titles are available for unlimited use.   Whether Penguin and Macmillan followed HarperCollins' lead or vice versa, I can't say.  I can confirm, however, that HarperCollins is not alone.

In OverDrive, books with metered access can be cheaper than unlimited access books.  The prices of metered books fall in line with the prices of printed books.   The Big Six Publishers and Library Lending chart from American Libraries shows how prices are affected by different lending models.   For unlimited access, prices of ebooks can be up to 3 or 4 times the price of print copies (Random House and Hachette). For Penguin (1-year expiration date) and HarperCollins (26 checkouts), the prices are comparable to their print counterparts.  A popular book like John Green's The Fault in Our Stars costs $16.99 for 12-month access, compared to a print copy at $17.61 from Follett School Solutions.   On the other hand, an e-book copy of Jennifer E. Smith's This Is What Happy Looks Like costs $54.00 for a one copy/one user license, and Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson costs $56.97 for a single digital copy.   Furthermore, a popular book like The Fault in Our Stars is likely to require at least one additional print copy for circulation in a 2,000-plus student high school, and many popular books are returned late - and sometimes not at all - requiring further purchases.   In light of that, $16.99 annually for a copy that cannot be lost or stolen is, from my perspective, completely reasonable.  

You can see the prices of ebooks, including information about the publisher, format, and lending model, in these screen shots.

A third reason I support the HarperCollins decision is outlined in the comments to the article on the Mediabistro site.  angieflynn presents an author's perspective.  As I stated previously, a popular print book is likely to experience wear and tear over time, and it runs the further risk of being lost or simply not returned.  The library must then replace the book.  A digital copy, on the other hand, will not wear out and is automatically returned at the end of the loan period, if not returned sooner by the user.  If an single ebook is sold at the same price as a print book and does not require further purchase, the author sells fewer copies.  The alternatives are to charge substantially more for a digital copy or to enforce some sort of loan period with a set expiration.

Some of those who disagree with HarperCollins' stance look at ebook sales in general, I suspect.  These sales refer more to individual consumers than to libraries.  OverDrive says it has captured the ebook business of 90% of public libraries, and its renewal rate is 99% (Seave, 2013).   Sales to individuals are final; there is no issue of access or loan.  But when libraries are involved, it appears that they are buying not directly from the publishers but rather through a service like OverDrive.   OverDrive takes care of nearly all management issues, and in the case of metered books, it alerts the user (library) to titles with expiration pending, and renewal is at the library's discretion.

I fully comprehend why HarperCollins' policy change three years ago ignited such an uproar.  No one likes the rules of a game changed once the game is underway.  But because I have only experienced the purchase of ebooks for my library on this side of the policy (metered access) change, I am more understanding and can accept the policy without feeling wronged or betrayed.


angieflynn. (2011). HarperCollins responds to library ebook controversy [blog comment].  Retrieved from

Big six publishers and library lending. (2013). American Libraries Magazine. Retrieved from

Purchase order history [report / image]. (2014). OverDrive marketplace.  Retrieved from

Seave, A. (2013, Nov. 11). Are digital libraries a 'winner-takes-all' market?  OverDrive hopes so. Forbes. Retrieved from  

Saturday, August 2, 2014

What are some of the elements of infographics?

Data visualization tools that one might notice in an infographic:



diagrams, graphs, tables, icons, arrows

Applications of infographics: 


business marketing

news dissemination

product design

scientific explanation 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Then again, maybe I won't

With all apologies to Judy Blume for usurping her title, I've encountered a little change in plans.  I'm still on the hunt for good - and most importantly, relevant - information about game-based learning.  And I got word from my principal on Monday that a small team of us will be presenting sessions on  GBL to our faculty and staff on August 15.  Needless to say, I still have a lot of work to do there.

A second idea came to mind last week, however, and for my CECS 5200 project I'm going to be shifting gears.   Let me back up a bit.   Before summer started, I did not expect to be able to take this course.  As such, I decided upon several topics to explore on my own this summer.   One was GBL, knowing that a presentation would be pending at the end of summer.   A second was based on a session I attended at the Texas Library Association conference in April, a session about infographics.  After all, they are ubiquitous.   The third avenue of exploration was Google, specifically Google educator certification.  

Anyway, I began to question my GBL project because of concern over the breadth of the topic.  So I began looking at my other summer goals.   Infographics tie in very nicely to the idea of visual and digital literacy, and there is definitely research out there about how infographics are being used, how they can be beneficial, what makes for good infographics, and how they fit in on the learning spectrum with respect to Bloom's taxonomy.   Additionally, there are a few teachers I 'd like to get on board this year with having their students create and present infographics along with research projects, but I realize I need to know more about the topic - and how to create them myself.

So here I am.   New project topic.  But one that I've been thinking about.  And I'm excited.  And for now I'm signing off.  Want an explanation and examples?  Check out the Wikipedia explanation of infographics.  Want to know what I think?  Check back soon!

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Welcome to my blog for CECS 5200.080.  This course, New Technologies for Instruction, is my final one in a four-class sequence to earn a graduate academic certificate in Leadership in Professional Development in Technology for Schools through the University of North Texas.

I am the library media specialist at Corondao High School in Lubbock, Texas.  I love working with high school students and teachers.  My job, as I see it, is to provide access to information for both students and teachers.   Information can come in analog (book) form or digital.   I love reading.  I love technology.  While I have a preference for print books (I sit here composing this initial blog in a fabulous indie bookstore on South Padre Island), the method of delivery is much less important to me (my Nook and iPad are in my bag beside me) than seeking and finding information - both for entertainment and for real life.

In April, my principal asked for volunteers who would be interested in exploring game-based learning / gamification and determining what it means for our campus.  I volunteered immediately.   With that in mind, I want to focus on the research behind game-based learning (GBL), the application of GBL, find examples of GBL that I can share with the teachers on my campus, develop an example or two for teachers to experience, and provide resources for teachers who want to begin exploring and utilizing GBL in their classrooms.  

In subsequent posts I will explore the definitions of gamification and GBL (and perhaps the differences between the two) and will provide links to some of the resources I discover.   Two quick discoveries to share before I go ....  One resource is a LiveBinder from ISTE with a tab on gamification: 

The other is a LiveBinder from Jennifer LaGarde (aka Library Girl) full of resources. 

Join me on my journey to make classroom-oriented GBL accessible to the students and teachers at CHS.