Federal Relations

April 30, 2015

More Books! Initiatives from the White House and Rep. Suzan DelBene

Today, President Barack Obama announced that major and independent book publishers are making 10,000 of their most popular titles available for free for low-income students through e-books, and effort estimated to be worth about $250 million. Obama said the devices will play a big part and a gap in access between low-income students and their peers still exists across the country. This new initiative is a part of the Administration’s ConnectED initiative, first launched in 2013. With smartphone use on the rise, this initiative will allow many low-income students to access e-books at home, they said. As part of the challenge, the Institute of Museum and Library Services will invest $5 million to support the development of an e-reader app, tools and services to access the digital content.

Related to that initiative, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA) introduced bipartisan legislation this week to help college students save money on textbooks by encouraging the use of low-cost or free digital course materials in higher education. The E-BOOK Act – or Electronic Books Opening Opportunity for Knowledge Act – would direct the Department of Education to use $20 million to create 10 pilot programs at public institutions throughout the country to increase access to digital course materials, expand the availability of e-readers and tablets for low-income students and encourage professors to incorporate new learning technologies into their classes.

The University of Washington has been a proud collaborator with Congresswoman DelBene on the E-BOOK Act and is a supporter to ensure that texts books are affordable and accessible.