LightSail Releases ‘State of the Digital Book Market’ Report Based on Survey of District and School Leaders


Schools Want Ebooks Integrated With Digital Learning Tools and Assessments to Drive Literacy Growth

NEW YORK, January 28, 2015 – A new LightSail Education survey of 475 educators – predominantly school and district leaders – from across the United States indicates that schools and districts see their use of classroom materials transitioning substantially from paper books to digital books over the next two years. An overwhelming majority of schools and administrators indicate a desire to build digital libraries rather than experiment with book rental and subscription models, but the market is still in its early stages. The report, “State of the Digital Book Market,” is the first to analyze K-12 decision makers’ views on the transition from paper books to digital books and literacy platforms.

Key findings of the report include:

  • K-12 decision-makers predict massive growth in the school-based ebook market.
  • The Library purchase model for ebooks is favored by most education leaders, where a preference is established.
  • Educators show a clear preference for reading in digital texts moving forward, where a preference exists.
  • School and district leaders are actively seeking technology tools that support literacy instruction.

Remarkable ebook market growth expected in next 2 years

– 94% of respondents expect that ebooks will increase as a share of books read in their school/district over the next two years.
– 58% report that ebooks currently represent less than 10% of all books in their school/district.
– 52% expect that in two years, ebooks will account for more than 40% of all books in their school/district. Preference for Library purchase model for ebooks, with much of market unclear on best option
– 40% want to purchase ebooks in the Library model, in which the school owns the texts, and students can check books in and out of a “digital library” on their devices.
– 16% want a subscription service similar to “Netflix” where, for a monthly fee, students can access a broad library. – 4% are interested in renting books through model that offers a single, time-limited checkout per rental. – 40% either were not sure which book model they wanted or did not have enough information to express a preference.

Migration to digital books embraced by school and district leaders

– 52% want students reading in digital books.
– 8% prefer paper books.
– 40% expressed no preference for digital or paper books.

Strong demand for technology tools that support literacy instruction

– 86% have researched at least one technology tool for literacy, such as tools that assess students while reading, measure reading behaviors, or differentiate materials based on student reading level.
– 58% have researched three or more such tools.

“With a record 10 million tablets and computers sold into US schools last year, district leaders and decision makers are gearing up to make a major shift to from print to digital,” said Gideon Stein, Founder and CEO of LightSail Education. “The results of this survey strongly suggest that schools are looking to build digital libraries where they own their content outright rather than experiment with models like book rentals or subscriptions.” The survey also found that ebooks are used across instructional models in schools, with especially consistent use for independent reading; 90% of survey respondents indicated the use of ebooks for independent reading.

The survey was sent to district and school leaders nationally, and respondents represented districts and schools in more than 35 states. Approximately 75% of respondents identified themselves as district administrators or school leaders. LightSail invited these individuals to respond to a survey about the eBook market, in order to understand their perspectives, and to inform its 400+ publisher partners of the needs of today’s educators.

Last year, LightSail struck an exclusive partnership with Baker & Taylor to deliver the most extensive digital library of critically acclaimed works to U.S. schools, including texts from more than 400 publishers. LightSail was named “Best Ed Tech of 2014” by Common Sense Media. In addition, LightSail won the Mindful Data Award from EdSurge and Digital Promise in the 2014 DILA awards, which honored the company for providing instant, actionable data to teachers based on information captured while students read excellent digital books. The State of the Digital Book Market report can be accessed via this link.

About LightSail Education

LightSail is the adaptive reading platform that helps students, classrooms, and school districts exceed their literacy goals. LightSail students get access to personalized libraries filled with thousands of engaging, just-right texts to choose from. Our award-winning solution embeds in-text assessments that motivate students to increase the volume of their reading along with the difficulty of the texts they choose. LightSail teachers get real-time access to meaningful data about student reading behavior, comprehension, and growth so they can provide the necessary guidance to enhance learning and encourage a love of reading.

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