NYC plans ebook marketplace for schools

NYC plans ebook marketplace for schools

The New York City Department of Education has a plan to make ebooks available to city’s 1,800 public schools.

Under a $30 million contract with Amazon, the city’s ebook marketplace will offer textbooks, along with other books and texts that individual schools select, and make them accessible via smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs.

Many public schools in NYC do not have enough space to store textbooks adequately, and the lack of competition among publishers makes it difficult to compare options and prices or exchange book licenses with other classrooms and schools, Devora Kaye, a DOE spokeswoman, told Politico New York.

Under the deal, Amazon will provide popular textbooks and other publications for use by students and school staff on smartphones, tablets and laptops. After the original three years, an option for another two can be exercised.

The Department of Education picked Amazon over 14 other bidders for the contract. If approved, the contract will start when students return from the summer break in a little over a month. The contract still needs approval from the Panel for Education Policy, a board of political appointees, but it’s expected to be approved.  

The deal "is also fiscally savvy for the city -- the DOE is not paying for the development of the new marketplace, and the robust competition and our procurement process will ensure that we continue to get the best prices for school texts,”  Kaye told Politico.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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