ALA eCourse on eBooks starts on March 4

ALA’s eCourse on Ebooks is set to begin on March 4th.  I’ve designed this course to help librarians and other information professionals get caught up with ebooks, both on the consumer end and in libraries. You do not need to have prior knowledge of ebooks (or experience using or purchasing them) to join us. You also do not need to own a reading device. Together we’ll revisit the very beginnings of ebooks and explore issues ranging from file formats to delivery mechanisms and lending policies as well as the changing roles of publishers, distributors, aggregators, online retail giants, and reading communities.  The world of ebooks is vast and complex. This course will help you navigate it with more clarity and confidence.

Below is the updated syllabus. More information on the process is available on ALA’s web site. I look forward to sharing my knowledge of ebooks and learning from all who register. See you on March 4th.–M.R.

Course: E-Books: What Librarians Need to Know Now and for the Future

Instructor: Mirela Roncevic

Duration: 4 weeks

Estimated Hours of Learning: 24

Course Publisher: ALA Editions

Week 1: Introduction to E-books & E-readers


  • Definition & context
  • History of e-books/major milestones
  • Basic features of e-books
  • Advantages/challenges of e-books
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM)
  • E-book softwares & formats
  • Dedicated e-readers and other portable devices
  • Dominant brands in the e-book market


Week 2: Availability & Publishing of E-books


  • Types of e-books (free, low cost, open access)
  • Business of publishing e-books (traditional vs. e-publishing)
  • The phenomenon of digital self-publishing
  • Sources of e-books online (nonprofits vs. for-profits)
  • Online e-book stores (, iBooks, etc.)
  • Online e-book repositories (e.g., Project Gutenberg, HathiTrust, Google Books)
  • Google Books Settlement
  • Online reading communities (GoodReads, Shelfari, weRead)
  • E-textbooks


Week 3: E-books in Libraries: Products & Purchasing


  • E-book platforms in libraries (aggregators, distributors, publishers, etc.)
  • E-book lending services (e.g., OverDrive, 3M, etc.)
  • University Press consortia platforms
  • E-book issues in academic, research, public, and K-12 libraries
  • Criteria for purchasing e-book platforms


Week 4: Current Trends & Future Prospects


  • E-book controversies
  • Ethics of e-books
  • E-book trends in 2013
  • Future predictions for e-books
  • Review/discussion