There are many eReader devices now on the market and they are definitely the replacement for the physical book. I didn’t think it was going to work as well as it does but personally I now carry mine with me everyday. I finished reading a book on my eReader the other day and someone had recommended my next read and given me the physical book. I forgot how heavy and inconvenient a physical book is! I immediately purchased the eBook version instead just so I didn’t have to carry the book around.
My only issue at the time of writing this is that I do not currently see a good platform for education to purchase eBooks. There are many products out there for eBooks platforms but none of them have got the pricing right or the content right. I think that most of the issues are down to book publishers not reaching agreement on licensing and I hope that it gets sorted soon as this is holding back education being able to embrace eBook technology.
With that said there are still some good ways to use eBooks / eReaders. In my opinion every student needs a device to consume eBooks on. Having shared devices does not overly lend itself well to the way the devices should be used. The historical way of loaning a book does not really work for an eReader because the requirement to return the physical book when you have finished reading it does not exist on an eReader as you simply download your next book and start reading! Also using an eReader whilst in your space e.g. not loaning it outside of the library is not overly practical. This is mainly due to the fact that eReaders are very personal devices. Page numbers do not even really exist as changing the font and size of font can completely change the book. So unless you want strict rules on what text style etc students must use, which is a key benefit of an eReader, then they are hard to use as shared devices.
The best current solution is to have some devices but try to really rely on students having there own devices and you providing the eBook platform and for you and every other school to hound publishers to get there act together and get eBooks for education sorted!
Why can we not have a system like Amazon Kindle where we buy a copy of a book but then that book can only be used on one device at a time and can then be loaned and returned? Like a traditional book! I believe Amazon do offer a service called Whispercast which sounds like the sort of system we need but as of today it is not available in the UK, when will the UK catchup with the US in getting systems negotiated and deployed!
I would love to see some sort of Spotify for eBooks for education (subscription services to read whatever books you like).