In about 5 ways:
1. the free Kindle apps for various devices, including simple PCs and iPads, do not require owning a Kindle. They only require having a basic Amazon account to link to the app. Then 20,000 free books are yours, from classics to modern promotions of big name fiction. Your book can be read on six devices or apps at the same time, so share away. (And no, they cannot make it disappear from your device or app. Ask us why.)
2. non-Amazon formats are published here, ranging from ePub to just PDF, .txt, and RTF. You can read these with any computer, netbook, or laptop. You will prefer the functionality of the Kindle version on a PC or Mac app, on laptops or netbooks or iPads, but you do not need one anyway to read it.
3. other devices are fully supported, including iPad through iBooks and Nook through Barnes & Noble. Of course you can read these formats in numbers 1 and 2 anyway on your Nook or iPad, so you need not buy through Apple or B&N to get the same functionality, but we sell at those stores and for those platforms too. By the way, Nook books look great on an iPad using the Nook app. Same with using the Kindle app on an iPad and many devices.
5. almost all of our books are in paperback too, either published by us or are available in print from another publisher. You can assign books to classes with assurance that we will work with you to make sure all students have affordable access. We are not averse to killing trees to meet your needs. But consider the speed and functionality of an ebook (and the higher royalty rates for our authors). Ask us why an ebook assigned to class will be welcome, as long as students have multiple format options and the PDF fallback. For example, Talcott Parsons’ The Social System, previously available for over $100 (even in Kindle) is now affordable to all, and accessible in print and handy ebook formats.
So just email us on Contact Us and ask us how you can start an elibrary with the equipment you have, including getting the free and discounted books that various publishers offer. We will demystify the options for you with one call to you. We will also demystify it for your students if you assign our book–this will not be a hassle for you.