Publishers in the US including Hachette Book Group, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster are making $250m (£163m) in free e-books available to low-income students as part of a scheme announced today (30th April) by President Obama.
The new e-book commitments, to cover a three-year period, will see publishers making sure their content is available to low-income young people in America.
A second initiative, the ConnectED Library Challenge, is a commitment by more than 30 communities to give every student a library card so they will have access to the learning resources and books they can read for pleasure, all available in America’s libraries.
Both schemes are part of ConnectED, an initiative launched two years ago by Obama focussed on transforming teaching and learning through digital connectivity and content.
Among the publishers taking part are Macmillan, which will provide unlimited access to all of the age-appropriate titles in their title catalog of approximately 2,500 books to school pupils, and Simon & Schuster, which will provide access to its entire e-catalog of books for children aged four to 14, comprised of 3,000 titles.
Penguin Random House is committing to “providing an extensive offering of their popular and award-winning books” while Hachette will offer “participating students access to a robust catalogue of their popular and award-winning titles”.
Bloomsbury will provide unlimited access to all relevant children’s and young adult e-book titles in its catalogue.
HarperCollins will provide a “robust selection of their award-winning and popular titles”.
A number of other publishers are also taking part.
Other projects announced as part of today’s initiatives include the New York Public Library developing an e-reader app that will provide access to “a universe of digital books, including contributions from publishers and hundreds of classics already in the public domain, to create a book collection for students aged 4-18 from low-income families”.