New Survey Highlights Increased Ebook Usage and Value Amid COVID-19

A new survey from OverDrive Education, creator of the K-12 Sora reading app, found that ebooks have become even more essential for learning during the 2020-2021 school year. Because of remote and hybrid learning during COVID-19, 80% of administrators state that ebooks are very or somewhat valuable in the ability to offer remote learning. Survey respondents included administrators and teachers across the United States.

It’s clear there is a connection between COVID-19’s disruption to the classroom and the adoption of ebooks. 98% of administrators report that full or partial remote learning is in place. 85% of administrators report using ebooks in their districts, and of teachers using ebooks, two-thirds say they’re using more this year than last year. This increase demonstrates an acceleration of the digital shift in schools.

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The survey also explored how educators are using ebooks in their schools. Highlights include:

  • 59% of teachers say they use ebooks in their classroom to support the curriculum, including digital textbooks as well as electronic versions of popular fiction and nonfiction books
  • 40% of administrators say their district has ebooks as a school library resource
  • 33% of administrators say ebooks are a great resource for those who struggle with reading

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“Ebooks have allowed educators to adapt to remote learning during COVID-19 without missing a beat. Now, they are recognizing how beneficial digital resources are for the long term,” said Angela Arnold, General Manager of OverDrive Education. “Teachers don’t have to worry about getting physical books to students. Digital books allow students to complete classroom reading assignments or read for pleasure, regardless of whether the district is teaching in-person or remote. This makes ebooks and audiobooks a smart investment for the future.”

The timing of the survey coincided with the start of the 2020-2021 school year when more than 9 out of 10 respondents say they had at least some students learning remotely. However, the survey reveals that the situation remains fluid, with 78% of administrators reporting that overall plans for how students attend classes have changed since August 1. Since that date, 38% of district schools have added digital resources and 25% delayed the start of class.

“2020 has been a lesson for all of us. Now that educators have a better idea of how to navigate the challenges of remote learning, they’re growing more confident and innovating with digital books,” said Arnold.

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