The Public Library Survey (PDF 7.8MB) shows that public libraries are adapting their collections to modern demands for electronic books: the number of eBooks per 1,000 people increased 2,140 percent between 2005 and 2014. IMLS supports the development of eBooks to expand access and encourage a love of reading.

The Open eBook initiative makes popular eBooks from major publishers available at no cost to children from low-income families. The Open eBooks app contains thousands of popular and award-winning titles. The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), First Book, and The New York Public Library (NYPL) created the app, curated the eBook collection, and developed a system for distribution and use. IMLS made over $250 million in popular eBooks from major publishers freely available to kids in need.

Since 2013, IMLS has supported efforts to simplify library patrons’ access to eBook content. The Library E-content Access Project (LEAP) expands and provides outreach for the Library Simplified e-content reader app and unifies and improves e-book borrowing and reading for library patrons nation-wide. NYPL, DPLA, and 19 partner libraries and library consortia worked to streamline eBook content access. In three clicks or less, library patrons can now discover eBooks, instantly borrow them, and read anywhere, anytime. The SimplyE for Consortia: Three Clicks for All Your EBooks project builds on this effort. Jointly funded by IMLS and Minitex, and conducted in partnership with the Massachusetts Library System (MLS) and Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS), SimplyE for Consortia will modify SimplyE for academic, public, and school library users, better supporting them by adding features such as enabling citations, group annotations, and embedded assessments.