July 12, 2016 - The New York Public Library has released SimplyE, a new app that makes browsing, borrowing, and reading e-books from the Library easier than ever. SimplyE makes all of the Library's e-books available in one easy-to-use app for the first time.
"The New York Public Library's new SimplyE app makes it easy for New Yorkers to enjoy our growing e-book collection," said NYPL President Tony Marx. "We look forward to working with other library systems to bring the app to readers across the country, and to continue our work with publishers and distributors to ensure that library e-content is as accessible to the public as possible."
Key features of SimplyE include:
- Simple design and interface that makes browsing, borrowing, and reading ebooks easy
- Content curated by NYPL librarians
- Public domain titles that are available for unlimited downloads
SimplyE is currently available for iOS and Android devices, with Kindle Fire, and web browser versions in development. The app was developed using open source software, giving public libraries around the country the ability to use the code to develop their own e-reader apps, and make borrowing free e-books easier for their patrons. NYPL is actively working with library systems around the country to potentially implement customized versions of the app.
NYPL also used the technology it developed for SimplyE to power the app for Open eBooks, an initiative that supported President Obama's ConnectED Initiative, and aims to makes thousands of popular, top-selling eBooks available to children in need for free. 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.
The New York Public Library's circulating electronic materials are increasingly popular. Over the last five years, e-material circulation has increased 241 percent, with 2.9 million e-materials -- including e-books, and audiobooks -- circulating in Fiscal Year 2015. SimplyE will help meet users' growing demands for e-content, and NYPL will continue to develop the app and add new features.
Adding features such as text-to-speech to make the SimplyE accessible to users with print disabilities will be a top priority for the app development team. NYPL is currently collaborating with the National Federation of the Blind, Benetech, the National Center for Accessible Media, Digital Public Library of America, and First Book, to ensure that SimplyE and Open eBooks meet and exceed all industry standards in the near future, and to encourage publishers and providers to produce content that is compatible with built-in accessibility features on mobile devices.
SimplyE has been made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (Award Numbers LG-05-13-0356-13 and LG-00-15-0263-15).
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.