Children & Young Adults, For Students, Press releases

Press Release: Open eBooks Opens World of Digital Reading to Children


Major publishers contribute thousands of titles to benefit students in need.

openebooks-graphicFebruary 24, 2016 – Open eBooks , a new initiative and e-reader app that will make thousands of popular, top selling eBooks available to children in need for free, is launching today. First Lady Michelle Obama is releasing a video today raising awareness of the new opportunity for children. The initiative is designed to address the challenge of providing digital reading materials to children living in low-income households, and offers unprecedented access to quality digital content, including a catalog of eBooks valued at more than $250 million.

President Obama announced a nongovernmental eBooks effort in support of the ConnectED Initiative at the April 30 Kids Town Hall held by the White House at the Anacostia Branch of the District of Columbia Public Library. ConnectED is multi-pronged effort designed to provide all youth with access to high-quality digital learning tools. Since it launched, over 20 million more students have been connected to high-speed broadband in their schools and libraries and millions more are taking advantage of its free private sector resources. Open eBooks complements the new digital infrastructure to provide an opportunity for kids in need to have a world-class e-Library in their homes.

A coalition of literacy, library, publishing and technology partners joined together to make the Open eBooks program possible. The initiative’s partners Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), First Book , and The New York Public Library (NYPL), with content support from digital books distributor Baker & Taylor created the app, curated the eBook collection, and developed a system for distribution and use. They received financial support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and content contributions from major publishers. National Geographic announced today that they will provide all of their age appropriate content to the app, joining publishers Bloomsbury, Candlewick, Cricket Media, Hachette, HarperCollins, Lee & Low, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster, who made commitments providing thousands of popular and award-winning titles last year.

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