This weekend my daughter went to continue reading an ebook she has available to her from her public elementary school on the Epic Reading Platform.
When she went to advance to the next page she was presented with an error message saying that the book was only available during school hours, and she would need to subscribe for $9.99/month.
If you still remember physical textbooks, can you imagine being forced to pay a company a monthly fee to bring your textbook home on the weekend?
I’ve emailed the principal of the school to voice my opinion that it is inappropriate for our school system to susbcribe to an ebook vendor that is trying to extract money from students. I believe it is also an equity issue since some families are able to spend $9.99/month on a service like this, and others are not. The playing field is not level, not by accident, but by design.
I thought that this might fit in with The Markup’s investigation into the ed-tech industry, but I guess it doesn’t really fit because it’s not a privacy issue per se. It is pretty infuriating though…the whole promise of ebooks is that they theoretically broaden access, but here access is being intentionally limited in order to make a profit. This doesn’t fit the goals of public education.