Incoming college freshman are often given their first homework assignment over the summer (gasp!) before the fall semester begins. Taking a page from the City Reads programs, many colleges are selecting a book that all incoming freshman students are “required” to readin preparation for first year orientation. The books selected typically serve as a jumping off point for a discussion on social, gender, race or other meaty issues.

Many publishers have entire divisions and department focused on supporting these programs. Random House, for example, has its Freshman Year Reading program and supporting materials. There are also educational organizations promulgating these programs and the addition of a digital component, including The National Resource Center for First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina and the National Orientation Directors Association.

Some universities subsidize the cost of the selected title and send out physical copies to students, while others provide the book at a discounted rate. Many colleges and universities are interested in offering eBook and/or digital audiobook versions of the selected title to supplement the physical book offerings. OverDrive can help!

Last summer, OverDrive worked with Purdue University to support its Common Reading Program by delivering the Random House title “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” in eBook formats.

OverDrive hosted a custom branded microsite where first-year students were able to enter a redemption code distributed by Purdue University. Students were then presented with a link to download their copy of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” in eBook format. OverDrive provided FAQs and other best practices documentation for inclusion on the microsite.

We encourage publishers, colleges and universities to contact OverDrive for more information about adding digital content to First Year Reading Programs around the country. Email OverDrive’s Publisher Partner Services team to get started.

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