Digital Preservation: Safeguarding the Future of Literature in the Digital Age

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy 

If we are all at war with time, digitally published literary works are on the same battlefield. In the constantly developing sphere of digital literature, the need for effective preservation tactics has become paramount. While the transition to digital forms have revolutionized the ways in which we access and read literary works it does not come without some distressing challenges. 

File Format Migration: Navigating the Challenges

One of the chief challenges met by e-book publishing platforms is the risk of outdated file formats becoming obsolete over time. As technology advances (time and time again), file formats evolve, potentially rendering older formats incompatible with modern devices and software. One real-world example of this occurring is the transition from the physical media, floppy disks, to CDs and DVDs. Content that may be stored on older media also becomes inaccessible as new devices phase out support for those older media’s formats. Likewise, e-books transitioned from “.lit” which was introduced to the Digital Publishing Sphere by Microsoft Reader to more widely adopted formats like “.epub” and “.mobi”.


To address this challenge, forward-thinking e-book platforms adopt a proactive file format migration strategy. A classic approach involves sporadically updating the digital library to align with the most recent updates and standards. This ongoing effort not only ensures the accessibility of literary works across various platforms but also prevents the loss of content due to format obsolescence.

There have been several platforms to embrace this approach. It would be in the best interest of any e-book author to acknowledge the importance of staying ahead of the curve in the fast-paced digital landscape. A reasonable plan would include assessing digital library’s file formats, identifying files at risk of obsolescence, and implementing conversions to current standards when necessary. 

Libraries and Institutions: Guardians of Digital Literary Heritage

Libraries like Library of Congress and Internet Archive alongside an organization called Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) are among those platforms that part in the essential role of preserving digital literature. 

The Library of Congress actively contributes to digital preservation initiatives by including archiving websites, electronic journals, and e-books. The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library that aims to provide “Universal Access to All Knowledge.” It has been archiving the web, digital books, and other digital content for decades, making it a valuable resource for preserving digital literature.

DPC is an international organization that brings together various institutions and agencies with a shared interest in preserving digital content. It provides resources, guidance, and collaborative opportunities for digital preservation efforts.

Harvard Library’s Format Migration Initiative:

Harvard Library who boasts a 20-year history of preservation stands as a prominent case of an institution dynamically betrothed in confronting the challenges of file format migration. Their Format Migration Initiative aims to ensure the long-term accessibility of digital content within their collections. By proactively and effectively managing format transitions, Harvard Library enhances the sustainability of their digital assets which in turn benefits not only the researchers who take time to collect the data for reports etc., but also the scholars and the wider public.

Putting it All Together:

By understanding and addressing challenges such as file format migration, the digital publishing community, libraries, and institutions can collectively contribute to safeguarding our literary heritage for future generations. Adopting proactive strategies ensures that the timeless words of authors past and present continue to resound in the digital realm for years to come. The lack of standardized preservation practices for digital archiving poses challenges. Without a proactive approach, the risk of information loss increases.

How Much Do You Pay for Textbooks?

The Education Data Initiative—an organization of researchers dedicated to collecting data and statistics about the US education system—stated that the typical college student spends an average of $105.37 per textbook. The undergraduates spend up to $600 per year on class materials. If you’re a postsecondary student, you could expect to spend twice that amount. The Education Data Initiative also has some other eye-opening statistics on the cost of student’s textbooks:

  • Between 1977 and 2015, the cost of textbooks increased 1,041%
  • Textbook prices are rising roughly 3 times the rate of inflation
  • 25% of students reported they worked extra hours to pay for their books and materials
  • 66% of college students skipped buying or renting course materials because they were too expensive 
  • 11% skipped meals in order to afford books and course materials
  • 90% of professors say textbooks and course materials cost their students too much

Student spending on textbooks and course materials has declined as much as 48% over the last ten years. While some students may take advantage of scholarships or other financial aid programs to help cover the cost of books, others turn to digital publishing, such as eBooks or open-source websites, to help mitigate the expense. Inside Higher Education performed a survey of 2,400 undergraduate students in April of 2023. This research organization provides sources of data, analyses, and information on higher education in the United States. Of those surveyed, 59% claimed to use free sources. Open-source libraries like Open Library and Project Gutenberg offer students free access to millions of digital book titles, including textbooks. However, around 11% of the students surveyed admitted to using digitally pirated sources.

The current global market for digital publishing of textbooks represents $15.74 billion in revenue for 2023 and the market is expected to increase by 17% to $29.56 billion by 2027. With such a large profit margin, publishers could face a hefty loss in revenue if more students turn to pirating their titles.

In response to the risk of more students turning to piracy, four of the top ten major textbook publishers have taken legal action. Pearson, McGraw Hill, Cenage, and MacMillan Learning are joining together to bring a lawsuit against one of the most prolific publishers of pirated titles—Library Genesis—for copywrite infringement. The lawsuit claims that over 20,000 titles have been illegally uploaded by the “shadow library.” LibGen is one of the most popular sources for college students to find free versions of textbooks, journals, and articles with over six million titles in their index. The representative for the publishers in the lawsuit, Matt Oppenheim stated, “LibGen’s massive infringement completely undermines the incentive for creation and the rights of authors, who earn no royalties for the millions of books LibGen illegally distributes,” and called the LibGen website a “thieves’ den of stolen books.”   

While the official lawsuit, Cenage Learning Inc v Library Genesis, makes a solid case against LibGen, the suit also acknowledges that shutting down the site will present with some tough challenges. Pirate sites are notorious for reappearing after a legal battle has shut them down. They purchase new domains and use proxies and mirrors to curtail legal tracking. The creators go through extensive efforts to hide their identities and IP addresses to avoid detection, making legal action evasive. Other pirate host sites have been successfully sued in the past, and LibGen has also faced previous legal troubles. Sued by publisher Elsevier in 2017, a judge ruled in favor of the publishing company, awarding a $15 million payout and demanding that LibGen turn over their domain. However, representatives from the pirate site never appeared in court, and LibGen opened a new domain and is still operational.

The cost of higher education is continuing to rise, and students are in growing need to cut costs where they can. Illegal sources for book titles are not condoned, and students have other means available to help ease the cost of textbooks. Scholarship programs, financial aid, and grants are some of the resources students can use for help. However, as long as the need exists, pirate sites will continue to pop up and fill the gap between students and publisher prices.

Sora: Ushering Classrooms into a New Era

Technology is swiftly advancing, and students are encouraged to interact with tech on a daily basis in order to develop the foundational skills that they will need to thrive in a tech heavy society. Coupling the need for those skills with the constant fluctuation of the classroom setting utilizing distant learning, homeschooling, and alternative education, physical print books are a resource that is not easily accessible to students, teachers, and parents. All of those factors have been compiled to result in a need for digital resources that are easily accessible and user friendly.

The leading global digital reading platform, OverDrive, released the Sora app in September 2018. Since its release it has been acknowledged as TIME’s 100 Best Inventions of 2019. It has also received awards for the 2019 Academics’ Choice Smart Media Award and a Gold Stevie Award in 2021.

Benefits of Sora

A leading digital book distributor, OverDrive has built steadfast relationships with top publishing companies like Penguin Random House Canada, Harper Collins Publishers, Blackstone Publishing, and many more. Those partnerships ensure that the K through 12 app offers over millions of different titles for students to choose from at any given time.

  • The app offers 24/7 access to students with the ability to download the book to any device to be read offline.
  • There are options available to make the reading experience more accessible to students including screen lighting, font sizing, adjustable narration speeds, and screen reader support.
  • The app offers titles in multiple different languages, bridging the gap for multilingual students and teachers.
  • The capability to take notes and send notes offers students the opportunity to communicate with teachers and classmates about what they are reading.

OverDrive Education has reported that e-book checkouts through its Sora student reading app increased 62% year-over-year in 2021 and that digital audio checkouts grew by 24%. And they are not done developing. In January 2023, OverDrive announced Sora Extra, a partnership with recently acquired TeachingBooks that will offer even more resources for interactive learning.

Consumer Perspective

For schools, the availability of an app like Sora has enabled them to promote healthier relationships between students and reading. With easy accessibility and a user friendly platform, children as young as 5 years old are able to read along with stories that they normally would be unable to read independently. Students struggling with the smaller texts in print books are encouraged to use the option to enlarge the text to better see, simultaneously taking away feelings of frustration they may be experiencing. The surge in immigrants from different countries has resulted in many non-English speaking students who are now able to have access to stories in their primary language.

Teachers are able to assign student reading assignments and monitor their progress across the platform without worrying about the possibility of them not having access to the physical book due to lack of inventory or the book not being in the student’s possession. The capability of taking notes, highlighting passages, or messaging through the app, ensures that the students are able to personalize their education with the teacher and develop better reading comprehension skills.

School libraries are limited in their inventory, only receiving certain numbers of copies of physical texts. With access to Sora, they are better able to accommodate students demanding trending titles or subjects, resulting in more reading time by the students.

Publishers Perspective

Partnering with companies like OverDrive gives authors and publishing companies access to a wider range of distribution. The collaboration between the two parties provides many benefits that can go a long way in guaranteeing success for a book that may not be available with print copies. For example, OverDrive offers:

  • No cost merchandising and promotion. The teams compound that date to put options in the forefront of interested readers. This promotes books and produces larger scales of sales.
  • A large catalog reviewed frequently by libraries and educators drives discovery and purchasing availability.
  • Once purchased, the books are immediately available to students through the Sora app making it more appealing for consumers to utilize.
  • Real-time reporting offers publishers and authors insight on how the work is being received by readers.

The easy accessibility for such a large audience, with Sora being utilized extensively in the classrooms and by schools, has promoted a heavy traffic towards books and physical texts that many have not experienced due to the changing dependency on technology. By utilizing this option, publishers are experiencing an uptick in the production of books and texts.

The New Era

As the world becomes more and more advanced the need to adapt is paramount to success. The development and utilization of apps such as Sora affords all parties involved the chance to guarantee that the written word does not become an inconvenience. Sora, specifically, is making strides to ensure that the relationship between text and readers is still a promising partnership. They also continue to expand and develop to make the world of digital text a positive experience.

What Publishers Can Do to Increase Learning in Digital Textbooks

Focus, comprehension, and critical thinking are shallower when one is reading on a digital device rather than on paper. An Insider article with Patricia Alexander and Lauren Singer showed that reading is faster on a device than on paper. Most people tend to skim through the text in order to find the “answer” rather than closely reading the text.

Despite the overwhelming evidence in favor of print books, we live in a digital age. Many students use free, or even illegal sites to get their textbooks because of the rising costs of education. While e-textbooks are significantly cheaper, that price cut simply cannot compare to a free resource when the student is getting the same experience. Digital textbooks must go beyond simply offering the text and give students an immersive and intuitive approach to learning that has adapted to the digital world.

Limit amount of text on a page

One of the biggest obstacles to close reading in a digital format is text overload, especially when it is formatted as a big block of text. Something that gives digital textbooks an edge over sites like Project Gutenberg is the ability to break up text. Project Gutenberg is popular among students for its free and legal access to many required readings; however, the site is clunky and the HTML format means that the student is forced to read through a wall of text.


Scrolling is one of the worst things a student can do when trying to read online. Even if the student has put away their phone, scrolling through their required reading is one of the biggest distractions for a student. In a study done by Pablo Delgado, Cristina Vargas, Rakefet Ackerman, and Ladislao Salmeron, “scrolling may add a cognitive load to the reading task by making spatial orientation to the text more difficult for readers than learning from printed text.” The mind diverts attention that could be used for comprehension to tracking the text as the reader scrolls, telling the finger to scroll, and when to stop scrolling.


If scrolling is bad, how do publishers fit all the information on the page? Well, they don’t. The best way to help a reader digest information is to limit the amount of information on the page. According to Laura Singer, any more than 500 words on a digital “page” will overload the reader and impact comprehension. You eliminate text overload by fitting a section to a page. This also carries the added benefit of geospatial recognition that is similar to print books.


The physicality of print books is something that has been increasingly hard to replicate on the digital scale. The geographical place of text within a codex is a key point in how students remember details and it is extremely difficult to digitally replicate. This is where headings come in. Headings and subheadings help to position the reader in the text and break up the text into easier-to-digest sections.

Remove Distractions

The biggest edge that print books have over digital books is their lack of distractions. Many digital textbooks must be accessed online, which requires the student to navigate to a search engine, type in the name of the publisher, log in, and access the textbook. Not only does this limit study time to times where the student has access to the internet, but there are so many opportunities for students to get distracted. It would be easier for students to access their text through an app that allows offline access.

The use of flashy colors and animations can succeed at grabbing a student’s focus, but they can also steal attention away from the material. This is the same concept as scrolling. When the brain has to take in any kind of movement and read a text, comprehension is going to be compromised.

Offer Customizations

The largest benefit over both print books and free websites is customization. The ability to customize the textual space goes beyond aesthetics. Accessibility is easiest in the digital format, where one can quickly change between fonts, colors, and text size. A student with dyslexia can change to a font that better supports reading. A visually challenged student, or a student that learns better through auditory input, can use a text-to-speech feature.

The ability to take notes in the margins is an important part of gaining a deeper understanding of the text; however digital textbooks are unable to provide comparable in-text note taking features. The options are so abysmal that the UNC Learning Center suggests creating a word document for each individual chapter, or writing notes out on a separate sheet of paper. These options take away valuable time and focus from comprehending the text. Furthermore, these options will quickly become bloated and confusing. Publishers must develop an in-text note taking and annotation system in order to have an edge over print books and free resources.

There are benefits and drawbacks to every type of textbook, but the purpose behind every one of them is the same: To help students learn. Education is rapidly moving towards a digital model and students demand textbooks that can keep up.

Fahrenheit 404: Censorship?

While burning books have been a practice going as far back as 213 BC, it is not something that can be done with digitally published works. In that regard, platforms simply remove and ban content that violates community guidelines and ban individuals from posting. Nevertheless, in means of less drastic measures, many states and counties have leaned into banning books from the public education systems that cross their conservative views. Book banning, in this case, has risen in practice over the years. As of this year, there was even a book burning in Tennessee back in February where a pastor burned Harry Potter and Twilight books.

Banned and Censored

To combat this censorship, many digital media platforms like OverDrive and Scribd have taken measures to ensure these banned books are still available. For example, doing events like banned book week. However, as of this year, Hoopla and OverDrive have removed books centering around what can be construed as hateful content and misinformation. Hoopla CEO Jeff Jankowski states, “Due to the hateful nature of these specific titles, I have no regrets about having our team remove them from hoopla.” Then he says, “I must acknowledge that this situation highlights a complex issue that Libraries have always faced in curating their collections — avoiding a culture of censorship.”

OverDrive CEO Steve Potash has not made any comments.

The removal came about through librarian suggestions and assistance from the Library Freedom Project. The demand to remove books on behalf of librarians who found them offensive is a paradoxical and inconsistent practice in digital platforms designed to be unbiased in the variety of curated viewpoints held. This is why Scribd continuously has a wide range of voices as a digital library. Ryan Holiday, who partnered with Trip Adler, CEO of Scribd, to make banned books more available, even says:

“America has a lot of problems but people reading books is not one of them. I’m appalled by this campaign to ban or remove books from school libraries and as a bookseller, it’s my obligation to do something about it.”

It is also why the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) fights to defend the “freedom to speak, the freedom to publish, and the freedom to read, as promised by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.”

Radical Text

However, as of recent hate crimes like that of the shooting in Buffalo, New York, the shooter allegedly published a manifesto citing the “Great Replacement Theory” that was recently removed from online platforms. While it wasn’t published on any digital publishing platforms or libraries, a new law is emerging out of Texas that could later be used to affect digital American publishing platforms. The law is currently known as H.B. No. 20, it prevents censorship of Texans on prominent social media platforms in spite of the potential to incite violence through radical views.

The law would fall in line with the America Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, where the first three rights are:

I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

In the future, this could protect books like God is Bigger than Covid by Frances Deanes and A New Nobility of Blood and Soil by Richard Walther Darré. Books that were removed from Hoopla and OverDrive, world distributors of digital content for libraries and schools, due to the nature of their content.

Error Code 404

According to Rebecca Knuth, an author on book burnings and the destruction of libraries, books are targeted because they “are the embodiment of ideas and if you hold extreme beliefs, you cannot tolerate anything that contradicts those beliefs or is in competition with them.” While the books that are being censored aren’t being burned or banned from these platforms because of opposing ideas, they are being censored for promoting radical thought and presumably extremist actions like that of the shooter in Buffalo, N. Y. resulting in missing or deleted webpages—error code 404.

This could signify a new road for rules and regulations in screening works for digital library spaces and platforms in America and for what should be censored on public platforms, affecting all authors alike. Should public digital media platforms adhere to unbiased curated content like Scribd, and soon most major social media platforms, or should certain content be screened for and removed as OverDrive and Hoopla have done?

It’s Time to Write

Image of Draven Jackson

Graduate school can be a major stressor to students looking to apply. Between trying to pick the perfect university to sacrifice your time and money to and making sure you’re qualified to do so, the application process can be overwhelming. Students can add that little extra splash of uniqueness to their graduate applications by creating a well-developed resume that offers interesting, published materials. Such an addition is beneficial to both the student’s application and their personal sanity. 

Why being published early matters 

Being “published” seems like an impossible step for graduated students. It’s overwhelming even after you spend years honing your writing skills. When we think publication, our brains seem to automatically lean towards “traditional publishing” or “when a publisher offers the author a contract and, in turn, prints, publishes, and sells your book through booksellers and other retailers. The publisher essentially buys the right to publish your book and pays you royalties (Links to an external site.) from the sales” (Writer’s Digest Shop (Links to an external site.)). 

While having an entire novel on your resume isn’t necessary for college applications, having published a couple articles can elevate your application. As Academical (Links to an external site.) states: 

Publishing papers at the undergrad level is in many ways a bonus, a way of showing that you were able to squeeze out one more accomplishment in addition to your solid grades and extracurriculars. Having published can, however, tilt the balance in your favor when committees have to choose between two equally deserving candidates. 

Academical goes on to include a few other things that can boost your resume such as working in a job in your industry, working a job in general, or volunteering with an organization that interests you. 

For students who are looking to add published works to their resumes, TopTier Admissions (Links to an external site.) provides a relevant list of tips: 

  • “Check out your competition and see how others do it” by visiting undergraduate research conferences at nearby universities. 
  • “Review the types of journals that typically accept submissions from undergraduates or working professionals pre-grad school.” Bernard Becker Medical Library (Links to an external site.) provides a list of websites that are great tools for finding the perfect journal for your paper. 
  • “Google ‘Call for Submissions’ and then type a keyword that links to your preferred field.” 
  • “Peruse UPenn’s massive list of conferences (Links to an external site.) seeking abstract submissions for presentations (a great place to start) AND journals seeking paper submissions, AND books seeking chapter submissions.” 

While it’s not necessary to publish your work to get into your college of choice, it can be a major booster to committees looking over applications. So, how does one actually get published? 

Literary Magazines 

Literary magazines, which commonly publish short fiction or poetry, are a great place for creative writers to start sending their works. Each magazine has a unique voice and viewpoint. Some publish online only while others offer print and online publications, so it’s important to look into a magazine before submitting a work. 

Reedsy (Links to an external site.) offers readers a list of the 100+ best literary magazines of 2019, listing both the magazines name, submission fee, publication frequency, and submission guidelines. 

For example, n+1 (Links to an external site.) is a “print & online magazine” that publishes new fiction, essays, criticism, and translations. The submission fee is $0 and students looking to submit have three chances a year to be published in the magazine. According to the publication’s general statement: 

Our editorial mission is to encourage writers, new and established, to take themselves as seriously as possible — to write with as much energy and daring as possible, and to connect their own deepest concerns with the broader social and political environment; that is, to write, while it happens, a history of the present day. We welcome submissions from all writers. 

If n+1 isn’t the magazine for you, Reedsy has compiled 102 other literary magazines. Options include magazines that publish “works that highlight cracks in society’s masonry” like frak\ture, to the Tampa Review that publishes “current art and writing from Florida and the world.” 

Non-Literary Magazine/Website Publishing 

The Write Life’s list of “19 Websites and Magazines That Want to Publish Your Personal Essays (Links to an external site.)” helps students looking to publish more non-fiction or non-literary works. 

Some of the websites and magazines showcased are the following: 

  • The Boston Globe, whose Connections section “seeks 650-word first-person essays on relationships of any kind.” Submissions should be sent to “with ‘query’ in the subject line.” 
  • ExtraCrispy, which offers writers interested in “breakfast, brunch, or the culture of mornings” the opportunity to send their works to
  • Kveller is a “Jewish parenting site” which publishes articles such as B.J. Epstein’s piece “How I’m Trying to Teach Charity to My Toddler (Links to an external site.).” Those looking to submit should send “a brief bio, contact information, and your complete original blog post” to “with ‘submission’ somewhere in the subject line.” 
  • Skirt Magazine, a publication that is “all about women – their work, their play, families, creativity, style, health and wealth, bodies and souls” says to “email your pitch, a resume, links to published works to” 
  • The Penny Hoarder, a “personal-finance website welcomes submissions that discuss ways to make or save money,” offers payment for articles between 700 and 900 words. For those looking to submit, the publication’s guidelines are simple and easy to follow. 


For students who have been working on a novel or other large body of work, self-publication is a viable option. While traditional publication relies on a publisher and a contract, self-publication has a variety of different publishing models (Links to an external site.) that range from “print-on-demand” publishing (where writers “use your own money to produce books one at a time through a company”) to “self-publishing” (where “you pay to produce, market, distribute and warehouse the book”). 

Self-publishing creates a lot of work for the writer as the expenses (and at times the marketing and distribution) rely almost entirely on the writer. However, it also allows for more control over the published work and the ability to keep all the rights and profit. For an example of a student-written, self-published piece, read Hero by Slay James (Links to an external site.)

Aspiring writers and grad-school applicants have no reason not to take the chance to expand your resume with published works. So, take a seat, pick a topic, and start writing. 

Digital Publishing in the Classroom

Image of Alexander Meyer

Enabling students to harness their voice and to understand the value of their ideas can be cultivated through digital publishing in the English classroom. Through tutoring, I have found that students struggle with expressing their ideas and frequently underestimate the value of their original thoughts. Usually the first step to helping brainstorm ideas is to aid them in understanding that not only does their voice matter, but also to write everything from an angle that interests them. Students sometimes have difficulty understanding why the essays they are writing matter, and how to express their voice.

By guiding students to experiment with and publish e-books in the K-12 classroom, we can cultivate a generation empowered with the ability to communicate effectively and with confidence. An English Teacher, Stacy Cler, writes that “through assignments that incorporate digital media, my students not only connect to the texts we read in class on deeper levels but also illustrate their knowledge and interests in technology, history and culture that reach outside of the classroom.”

To ensure that e-book creation aligns with learning standards we will use the following standards from Perhaps you have your students write poetry to “demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. [L.9-10.5].” Or you may have them collaboratively “write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. [W.9-10.3].”

The Premise is That…

As a student myself, I was never nurtured to value my voice until late in my college career where professors coaxed it out of me. Furthermore, it wasn’t until the very class that I am writing this article for that I understood how to project my voice outside of a complicated and competitive academic publishing environment.

Now I know that publishing online is achievable at any level of education, and it should be utilized. Sources such as the Teacher Off Duty and Cult of Pedagogy detail ideas for how to incorporate digital publishing into the classroom. However, what if a student wants to go further and publish an e-book themselves?

Self-publishing an e-book is easier and cheaper than ever with websites like LuLu, and can be as simple as downloading a Google Doc in the .ePub file format. Students may even convert PowerPoint and Google Slides documents into PDF files that may be read as e-books.

Resources for E-book Creation

Google Classroom utilized through a school’s G-Suite are seemingly the most convenient method to publishing the student’s work in e-book format if the classroom has access to digital devices – such as Chrome Books. Not only does Google Classroom allow the educator to easily manage the student’s writing, but since the students will be writing in Google Docs or Google Slides this allows the students an easy route to converting their work into .ePub format.

Greg Kulowiec explains that to create an e-book through Google Docs “the process…consists of creating content within a Google Doc and then exporting it: File –> Download As –> ePub Publication (.epub).” After converting their in-class work to the .ePub file format, the student can then “upload their digital book back to Google Drive and make the .ePub file accessible to anyone via a link.”

Furthermore, Kulowiec writes that creating an e-book through Google Slides is as simple as designing each slide as a single page of the e-book, converting the file into a PDF document, and then uploading it to Issuu.comIssuu has many subscription plans, but for the purposes of a classroom the educator may utilize a free subscription plan and allow the students to upload their e-books.

PowerPoint is as simple as using Google Slides. Convert the PowerPoint file into a PDF and immediately share with family and friends. To find more information on this medium, I recommend reading this article on students making e-books from the Cult of Pedagogy. Theoretically, the same may be done with a Word Document; however, just like Google Slides, PowerPoint allows for the manipulation of images, text, and design, allowing students to create vibrant e-books.

Realizing Students can have an Impact

Students can do more than just create a PDF file, or write something in .ePub. Your students can profit from their e-book. Students can distribute their e-books from the iBooks, and even

Of course, these methods will be rather nuanced and require more exploration and effort than simply distributing the e-book as a PDF and/or through Google Drive in .ePub format. Furthermore, the buyers will likely be limited to family and friends. However, cash is a great attention-grabber and motivator in the classroom.

Another valuable outcome of this process can be teaching students how to market their work, and the value of money. They can be led through the process of selling these e-books around the students’ local community; specifically, students might sell their e-book at their school’s book fair.

Encourage the students to take ownership of their voice by writing together and publishing a collaborative collection of all their work and selling it at the book fair. Advertise the event to parents. If you want to spice things up, negotiate royalties with the class – perhaps you return 70% of the book funds to a class-wide fund that they may vote on how to utilize for something like a pizza party to celebrate their publication. Figure out as a class where that remaining 30% should go to, like a charity, or maybe you invest in making a physical copy of the book to put on display.

At the end of the learning segment, students will have learned the writing curriculum, how to create and publish an e-book, and how to project their voice and be recognized for their achievements.

Changing the World with Worldreader

Image of Myia Fitzgerald

Worldreader, the lovechild of Amazon and higher education, gained three million new users in 2018, bringing the total number of individuals the company has reached to 10 million according to Publishers Weekly’s Ed Nawotka.

Worldreader, a charitable organization that promotes literacy and learning through technology, was founded by David Risher, previously both a general manager at Microsoft and Amazon’s senior vice president for Retail and Marketing, and Colin McElwee, the first Director of Marketing at ESADE Business School in Barcelona. As an AllAfrica article on Worldreader explains, Risher and McElwee’s initiative  “provides people in the developing world with free access to a library of digital books via e-readers and mobile phones.”

Worldreader intends to bridge the gap in education that permeates developing nations. According to CIO’s article “Worldreader Launches E-reading Program in Rabai,” “only one in nineteen African countries has anything close to adequate book provision in schools.” To change that, Worldreader gives away Kindles and Tablets, loaded with e-books, to disadvantaged peoples in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

What Worldreader has to Offer

Worldreader re-evaluates its e-book catalog each year based on reading levels and gauged interest. The 35,000 works that it offers fit all different categories to engage readers fully – AllAfrica says the e-books are “texts for all ages; books that are supplementary reading for education; vocational books; books for low literacy adults; and basic books to get parents to tell stories to kids.”

Worldreader offers three different apps so that readers can access the e-books on mobile devices. The regular Worldreader app enables users to set and track reading goals through gamification and supports offline reading, which the frequently low-fi status of the villages necessitates. The unique language support feature contributes the most to Worldreader’s success: the app supports all modern written languages from Hindi to Arabic.

The organization also offers a “Worldreader Kids” app. Like the original app, it enables offline reading – however, the child-friendly app includes personalized avatars to entertain young ones while they read the illustrated children’s e-books.

The “Worldreader Student” app works on Android devices and supports reading level analysis as well as other insights to help the organization tailor the program for students.

Worldreader also offers a product it calls a BLUE Box, which the charity designed for schools and libraries. The BLUE Box costs $15,000 per package and consists of 5,000 e-books pre-loaded onto 50 Kindles (sometimes donated Android tablets) with full Worldreader operational support. The products Worldreader supports feed directly into its established programs.

Moreover, the charity boasts an incredible range of partners, donors, and patrons. Worldreader is partnered with publishers such as Pearson, Penguin Random House, and Rosetta Books, and supported by organizations like EBSCO, Google, LinkedIn, and the UN. Additionally, Amazon, Samsung, and Microsoft all make products for Worldreader at low cost.

Worldreader’s Reading Programs

Worldreader outlines four major reading programs: Pre-Reading, School Reading, Library Reading, and Lifelong Reading. The “Worldreader Kids” app feeds into the Pre-Reading program, which aims to get parents and teachers reading with young children to establish the importance of literacy young. Worldreader’s 2018 Annual Report says that learning to read at a young age dramatically increases a child’s earning potential which “increase(s) their chance of breaking the cycle of poverty and create(s) inner capacity to build healthier and more equitable societies.”

The School Reading program correlates with the student app and BLUE Box to provide material to both student and teacher. UNESCO states that “an astonishing 617 million children and adolescents worldwide are not reaching minimum proficiency levels in reading. A lack of books prevents literacy acquisition and learning, blocking students from reaching their full potential.” Worldreader challenges this problem by providing students access to online textbooks through their program.

Worldreader has several initiatives in both the Library Reading and Lifelong Reading programs: the Library Reading program has LOCAL (Local Content for African Libraries) and LEAP (Libraries, E-Reading, Activities, Partnerships) which engage the public in e-book consumption. The Lifelong Reading program has AvanzaLee, a Latin American initiative focused on Mexican e-books, and Anasoma, an initiative geared toward gender equality.

Why E-readers instead of Print Books

Donating e-readers makes more sense than providing print books in an environment where scarcity oppresses. As Linendoll from CNN explains,

Carrying heavy loads of books is not practical for Kenyan students who often have to walk miles to and from school. E-readers, however, are a different story. They’re lightweight and portable and give students access to entire libraries, including books from African publishers.

The e-readers also allow for more technological intervention – between being data-driven and fully supported remotely, e-readers encourage more engagement in continents like Africa by supporting African languages. The technological literacy the readers attain also promotes the use of e-readers.

The founders, Risher and McElwee, explain that the previous favor print books held counteracts the goal of the charity,

Donating paper books to a place like Africa is well-intentioned, but it’s actually ill-informed. You can’t actually get the right books to the people you want to get to, at the time they need it. It’s very expensive and highly inefficient.

The expense of sending print books would be astronomical – the cost of production and shipping alone would already eat through Worldreader’s funds, and e-readers contain more content in half the size for pennies on the dollar. The volume and versatility of e-readers make them the clear choice for an operation of this size.

Some might worry though about the danger of theft when using tools so valuable; as Linendoll expresses, “The students, after all, go home to a community filled with poverty.” However, less than a single percent of e-readers has disappeared, which indicates the absences can likely be attributed to other factors, such as moving. “Books and education are really the way out of this, and people take great care of books and education,” McElwee stated.

Worldreader has pushed literacy through e-books with great results on four continents. Though the charity currently boasts 10 million users, Nawotka’s article “Worldreader Added 3 Million Users” reports that, “The stated goal for the group is to ultimately reach one billion readers.” These results should come as great news for e-book authors as Worldreader has expanded the digital publishing universe by opening up audience demographics that were previously left untouched. All an author has to do is write something worth reading.

How Digital Publishing has Enhanced Education

Image of Katherine Baldwin

Innovations in digital publishing have created a veritable science-fiction for consumers and students. Textbooks and magazines have given way to learning mediums that can be accessed through mobile devices at one’s fingertips. Digital content now allows for a more immersive and accessible learning environment for students. 

When a student was doing research in the past, they had to manage a variety of outside factors. They had to be cognizant of library hours, the availability of subject matter experts, and have a good working knowledge of the library system as a whole. Now, students have the world at their disposal with built-in search engines and mixed media e-delivery tools. These tools, coupled with inexpensive, high-speed, and widely accessible internet, provides instant accessibility to subject matter experts worldwide and their knowledge.

Many manufacturers have been developing inexpensive computers to facilitate the delivery and consumption of e-content. Companies like Intel, HP, Dell, and Toshiba have manufactured devices specifically for consumers in the field of education to better utilize digital content. An example of this is seen through the Chromebook’s presence in K-12 schools. Further, Amazon’s Kindle has made educational materials accessible to a general consumer market. 

Beginning with the release of Kindle in 2007, consumers saw a new way to access written content. They could now purchase most novels and online magazines at home. The benefits of e-publishing became quickly apparent to the education community. This resulted in a large number of publishers beginning to focus on e-textbooks.

Publishing companies that specialize in digital content delivery and customizing dashboards specific to educational fields are entering the market and shaping the ways that students learn. (Top eLearning Content Development Companies.)

One such company is Cengage. Cengage, Inc. is an online textbook supplier. Something useful about this company is that they allow students to pay a single fee which grants them access to a large number of educational resources.

One of Cengage’s most popular tools is Cengage Unlimited, which provides students with access to over twenty-two thousand (22,000) e-delivery titles covering seventy (70) disciplines for educational material. This cost and time efficient tool saves students hundreds of dollars and hours of research. To put this in perspective, a student at a typical four year school like Troy University, which has 200,000 volumes in its physical book collection, can utilize Cengage Unlimited and potentially carry up to 11% of Troy University’s physical library on their laptop.

Alleviating the need for students to be in the same location as a physical book has also made learning available to students at any time and location. To address this new learning model, college campuses are being reconfigured with open-air study environments, high-speed Wi-Fi, and extended hours in various buildings such as libraries. Further, a student can attend classes carrying a laptop instead of toting a stack of textbooks around campus.

Another benefit of e-textbooks is that revisions of e-books can be accessed without the purchase of brand-new editions. With the licensing arrangements offered by many e-publishers, students receive many of these updates with no additional costs.

Students are also being exposed to new digital mediums as early as elementary school. This early exposure to digital media has transformed learning. As students move through elementary school, highschool, and matriculate into university, they are more adept at the use of these tools and are more open to exploring them as they become available. 

This shift in learning trends has provided students with the ability to delve deeper into specific topics and interests in a way that prior generations would not have been able.  Students may utilize assigned e-texts, as well as easily accessible online content to enrich their learning experience. Digital publishing also gives publishers the ability to intersperse different styles of learning content inside a specific learning segment; thereby, maximizing the learning for the student. 

Digital publishing in the field of education has transformed the ways that students learn and has made significant improvements in both the lives of university students as well as educators. Limitless opportunities have been enabled for students and educators to tailor education content in a variety of ways to maximize the learning experience. With the ability to access information in the blink of an eye and customize the delivery of learning material, digital publishing has created an unprecedented, accessible, and efficient learning environment.