A cooperative effort between the Library of Michigan and the presses of the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University has launched a unique collection of regional e-books available to all residents of Michigan.
The ReadMichigan.org statewide e-book collection consists of 300 e-books published by university presses about Michigan and the Great Lakes region.
The homegrown collection includes winners of the prestigious Michigan Notable Books award as well as other important books published by Michigan presses and authors.
Residents and visitors to the state of Michigan can access these e-books (with no waitlists or holds) via geolocation at ReadMichigan.org. The Michigan Humanities provided financial support and is a founding partner of the project.
The project is a compelling one for the university presses, which are constantly experimenting with new ways to reach more readers, students and researchers.
University press directors Charles Watkinson of U-M, Stephanie Williams of Wayne State, and Gabriel Dotto of Michigan State issued a joint statement on behalf of their publishing houses.
“University presses are mission-driven to advance knowledge about our communities. Our state is unique in having three leading university presses that are all supported and advanced by flagship public universities,” the statement said.
“This e-book collection allows the inspirational work that our authors and staff do to be accessed in every finger of the Mitten. We are so excited to partner with the Library of Michigan and the Michigan Humanities Council to share these educational, entertaining and informational books with our neighbors.”
The Michigan Notable Books program, created by the Library of Michigan, began as part of the 1991 Michigan Week celebration, designed to pay tribute and draw attention to the many people, places and things that identify Michigan life as unique and vibrant.
“As we approach our 30th anniversary of the Michigan Notable Book Award, there is no better way to celebrate than to work in collaboration with our strongest publishing and community partners to increase access to these important books,” said Randy Riley, state librarian of Michigan.
“We look forward to seeing how the library and educational community across Michigan integrate ReadMichigan.org e-books into their own local e-book programs and we stand ready to support that effort in any way we are able.”
As consumer media platforms such as Amazon, Netflix and Apple have changed the modern digital user expectations, progressive publishing and library organizations have begun to experiment with more competitive content access models.
“E-books in general increase the efficiency of delivering books to readers, but most library distribution models apply artificial constraints on availability, forcing users onto waiting lists for popular books,” said Mitchell Davis, senior director at BiblioLabs, the platform hosting the e-book collection. “This project has a spirit of cooperation but also a spirit of sustainability that is unique.”