February 7, 2023

Brain Hive Goes Live: On-Demand Ebook Service Rolls Out to K–12 Schools



Brain Hive home page on the iPad

Brain Hive, the pay-as-you-go ebook service that’s been in beta testing with a handful of schools, is now widely available.

Membership to the Minneapolis-based service is free and schools pay $1 per ebook when it’s circulated. The BrainHive account administrator—typically the librarian or principal—can delete any title from the collection as desired and add books to create a custom collection that’s accessible to individual students or groups, as previously reported on the Digital Shift. A single title can be checked out by multiple students, allowing for simultaneous classroom use.

Brain Hive currently offers 3,000 titles from a range of publishers, including Random House Children’s Books, Open Road Integrated Media, Charlesbridge Publishing, Lee & Low Books, Lerner Publishing Group, Andersen Press USA, Gecko Press, the Creative Company, Kane Press, Red Chair Press, and Stoke Books. Dozens of new titles and more publishers will be added each month, according to the release.

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.

“With Brain Hive, you pay for what you use and buy just what you need. It’s an out-of-the box and creative pricing model that sets a new standard.” says Carolyn Foote, district librarian, Eanes ISD in Austin, TX, and Brain Hive advisory team member.

Brain Hive ebooks are also aligned to STEM and Common Core State Standards, and teachers can form book clubs within the environment as well as recommend age-appropriate reading lists and incorporate interactive whiteboard lessons.

BrainHive enables students to take notes in ebooks, as well as bookmark, search, and store each title within a personal “Book Bag.” And kids can access their books from home. All titles can be integrated with library catalogs using MARC records, so they appear in the same catalog right alongside existing print and ebook titles in the library collection, reported Lauren Barack in June.

A Web-based service, Brain Hive also has an iPad app.

Membership registration is now open on the website. New members receive 10 “Brain Hive Bucks” equivalent to 10 free ebook checkouts.


Student Bookbag


Kathy Ishizuka About Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka (kishizuka@mediasourceinc.com, @kishizuka on Twitter) is Executive Editor of School Library Journal.