It would seem e-readers are a no-brainer. But let's take a moment to consider the devil in the details. What about device management? Who purchases and downloads all the content--usually separately on each device? For that matter, content is still largely device dependent; you can't read a kindle book on a nook etc. etc. If the device has wi-fi connectivity, can it be networked to your school's exisiting infrastructure?
Which brings us to the iPad where there are a plethora of reading apps, so you loose the device dependency. And there is a way to manage multiple devices in one go which also support networking, So this only leaves the question of device ownership. That is, if you aren't in a 1:1 setting, sharing books across devices can be messy. Students 1 uses the device, annotates, bookmarks leaves. Students 2 enters, opens the same book and overwrites Student 1. And in the end, is it worth the cost? Basic e-readers run much cheaper these days than tablets, if reading / literacy is the goal, a plain reader may be the best option.
To start, I've downloaded a number of iPad book apps in an effort to play and understand how they might be handled. I'll be posting my findings as I go. In the meantime, here's the apps I've started working with.
Apps: Kindle, Nook, ibooks, book crawler, free books and overdrive (access to libraries) Wuthering Heights (a BeamItDown interactive book I've just started to explore) and The Lorax (by Oceanhouse Media--a fantastic example of why kids love interactive books)
Prelim findings: iPads may be best for station reading in an elementary classroom, or one-on-one with a tutor. In the secondary setting with novels and longer books, I really need to address the question of device management.
Please post / link any resources you have to share. I'll update here as the project progresses.