July 31, 2014

BrainHive to Offer Pay-As-You-Go Access to Ebooks

Having a hard time figuring out which ebooks to buy for your school library? A new rental service called BrainHive promises to solve the problem with a pay-as-you-go model for K-12 schools.

The program, currently being beta tested in 20 schools, is expected to launch this fall and give school librarians access to more than 3,000 fiction and nonfiction titles from publishers such as Random House Children’s Books, Charlesbridge Publishing, and the Lerner Publishing Group, and include such titles as Mousetraps (Carolrhoda, 2008) to I Want to Do It Myself! (Anderson Press, 2011)

Membership to the Minneapolis-based service is free and schools only pay $1 per ebook when a student or teacher checks it out. The BrainHive account administrator—typically the librarian or principal—can delete any title from the collection at any time and add titles to create a custom collection that’s accessible only to individual students or groups. And there’s no need to worry about multiple users-each ebooks can be checked out simultaneously.

Strictly for school, rather than public libraries, new members start with credit for 10 free checkouts. The ebooks can be read on any web or mobile Internet browser on PC and Mac desktops and laptops. While you can’t read the books on a Kindle or Nook, a free ereader app is expected for the iPad at launch.

Through BrainHive, students can take notes on ebooks, as well as bookmark, search, and store each title within their own personal “Book Bag.” They’ll also be able to read the titles at school and from home-and all titles can be integrated with library catalogs using MARC records, placing them in the same catalog alongside existing print and ebook collection.

Schools have the option to buy the most popular titles on a multiuser basis, making any ebook purchased through Brain Hive a permanent part of a school library collection with no additional rental fees.

Teachers can create book clubs, recommend age appropriate reading lists and resources that complement assigned reading, and incorporate interactive white board lessons. Brian Hive ebooks also are aligned to the Common Core State Standards, STEM, and state standards for science and social studies.

Another bonus? Brain Hive collects data on usage trends to help librarians understand what books are being read, how often, and for how long, and it automatically emails the information to the account administrator. A report wizard also makes it easy to generate reports for any time period, with the information exported in excel or PDF format.

With library budgets on the decline, school librarians are trying different models when launching ebook libraries in their schools. BrainHive can supplement any set-up or give school librarians who haven’t started building their ebook collection a way to dip their toe in the digital ereader and ebook water.

“Schools desperately need creative thinking from the private sector, inventive business models, and affordable access to the best educational content for our students,” says Adam Lerner, President and Publisher of Lerner Publishing Group in a release. “As a 52-year publisher for the school library market, we are thrilled to offer our eBooks on BrainHive.”

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Lauren Barack About Lauren Barack

Lauren Barack writes about the connection between media and education, business and technology, and is the recipient of the Loeb Award for online journalism. She can be found at www.laurenbarack.com.

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