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Open eBooks for Children: Future Opportunity for Indie Authors

The Open eBooks initiative was established with a partnership between The New York Public Library, DPLA (Digital Public Library of America), and First Book, with assistance from Baker & Taylor, and made possible by generous commitments of publishers, with funding support provided in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alfred… [Read More]

Open eBooks

The Open eBooks initiative was established with a partnership between The New York Public Library, DPLA (Digital Public Library of America), and First Book, with assistance from Baker & Taylor, and made possible by generous commitments of publishers, with funding support provided in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

If you are a writer for children [7 or under], middle grade [8-12] or young adults [13-18], Open eBooks is a program that might be of interest to you.  At its core, their software application contains thousands of popular and new titles, which are made free for children from in-need households.

Michelle Obama Helped Kickstart the Open eBooks App . . .

On February 24, Michelle Obama and the White House officially helped launch the Open eBooks app to provide $250 million worth of free digital texts.

VIDEO

As part of the Open eBooks initiative, their app allows users to access thousands of free eBooks on smartphones or tablets.  It’s open to any educator, student or administrator at one of the 66,000+ Title I schools or any of the 194 Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools in the United States.

Addressing Indie Authors

Rachel L. FrickToday, I interviewed Rachel L. Frick, director of business development for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) to learn more about the possibility of this program providing indie authors with an opportunity to distribute their work.

Since the scope of this project reaches out to a wide audience, it’s logical that Open eBooks would accept book submission from the traditional publishers at the onset.

However, in time if indie authors could also be accepted, it would allow both veteran and newbie authors to have their work judged and vetted by their target audience.  Like the basic premise of James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds, a consensus by a larger group of people will surface more accurate assessments of one’s work, than any expert or book reviewer could possibly achieve.Open eBooks

When querying Frick on the topic, she said: “We are currently working with large publishers for now, but hope to include works from smaller presses, as well as self-published authors in the future, as we see these options as meeting the need for books that appeal to a diverse audience.”

“As you can imagine, we had an amazing response from indie authors, small presses and others in regards to contributing to the program.  As we bring the second class of the Curation Corps into action, we will assess how best to manage this type of content.  As we would have to have legal agreements with each individual author, we need to figure out a streamlined way to accomplish this.”

Requirements for Indie Authors

For those indie authors interested in sending in submissions or querying Open eBooks at this juncture, Frick asked that they email their works to the Open eBooks initiative at mailto:openebooks@dp.la.

Submissions should include book titles, a synopsis, age group, reading level, readership and subject tags. Additionally, you should note if your eBooks have received an award or special recognition.  Frick indicated that the initiative is also very interested in titles that are written in languages other than English.

“We are working towards collections that represents a diverse range of voices and experiences, prioritizing titles that speak to this challenge,” noted Frick.

Currently this program only supports works published in EPUB3 format, but will be able to accept books in PDF late in 2016.

Contact Info

Open eBooks Logo cropThere are several ways to sign up for Open eBooks and acquire the app. You can visit OpeneBooks.net or the White House's official announcement.  Or, check out the blog posting: “Five more Facts About the White House and Michelle Obama's Free ‘Open eBooks’ App,” with information from the White House and the New York Public Library.

For those authors who write children’s books, you should consider Open eBooks as another distribution channel to get your work out in front of your targeted audiences.  We will be watching the success of this program over the course of the next year and look forward to your comments and feedback about your submissions and experiences with the program, when and if you proceed with Open eBooks.

Readers & Writers: I look forward to your feedback, comments and critiques, and please use BookWorks.com as your resource to learn more about preparing, publishing and promoting self-publishd books. My blogs appear bi-weekly on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month.


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11 thoughts on “Open eBooks for Children: Future Opportunity for Indie Authors”

  1. What a wonderful initiative. I’m glad to see people participating in something so creative and educational. In my humble opinion, it’s so important to visualize then create an environment that is conducive to learning, period. The fact is, there aren’t that many opportunities out there, especially with all the competition, but now there’s this… wake up Indie authors this is a big plus.

    1. Profile photo of Ron Callari Ron Callari says:

      Yes, Gabriella will be following this initiative closely over the course of the next year as it opens it doors to indie authors and they can test this new distribution channel.

  2. This is a great idea! Education is the biggest factor in determining one’s future success. It is one of a handful of things that can lift people out of poverty. As a bonus, if we can get indie authors onto the list, it opens up a whole new channel for them to make a name for themselves.

    1. Profile photo of Ron Callari Ron Callari says:

      Lifting kids out of poverty through learning is the best thing we can pass on to the next generation David.

  3. Uttoran Sen says:

    Hey Ron,

    Open eBooks seems like a great initiative. I am a big fan of opening up the resources and providing it for free to the people who need it the most. And books are such a thing that the needy will only buy as many as they absolutely require – and that is never enough. Now that it is provided for free, one does not have to limit their reading based on the number they have in their pocket.

    Good to see the white house coming up and helping in this cause. Am sure in time this will become another great channel to promote great eBooks and reach a greater audience.

    thanks,
    Uttoran Sen,

    1. Profile photo of Ron Callari Ron Callari says:

      Michelle Obama’s backing will help give this initiative the needed exposure it deserves Uttoran, for sure.

  4. I told my children that there were homes within miles of our house that did not have any books. They were shocked! I explained that not everyone can afford to buy books the way we do. I think this initiative is genius because it not only fills the need for books for the needy, it give indie authors a chance to do great things with their writing.

    1. Profile photo of Ron Callari Ron Callari says:

      Very true Sarah, it’s something many of us take for granted ~ the accessibility to books. Perhaps with programs like this, it will help those who take this for granted, to pause a moment to understand this type of need exists in the world. This program is truly a win-win for both parties – the writers and needy children.

  5. What a great initiative. I can see kids in developing countries such as mine (India) benefiting from such online libraries. I hope this expands to other countries and ebooks in other languages.

    1. Profile photo of Ron Callari Ron Callari says:

      Thanks Pryia, I will make sure Rachel L. Frick, director of business development for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is made aware of your needs in India to see if there is a sister program that might be covering your part of the world.

  6. This is a wonderful program. It’s great to see that they are planning to open it up to indie authors as well since this can provide such great exposure.

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