Open Access Books

oabooks copyWe have launched a Web site for NYU Press to provide open access to some of their books. The site, located at openaccessbooks.nyupress.org, offers several dozen books for reading on a computer, tablet, or phone. It’s powered by Readium, a javascript-based, open-source package for handling EPUB files in a browser. The requirements for this project were interesting: we needed to provide a good online reading experience for users without allowing them to download the books. As it turns out, we don’t know of anyone else who has a project quite like this one. Most EPUB-related software is focused on allowing users to read the books they have on their devices (i.e., books they have downloaded). Even Readium was designed originally for this purpose, but it’s flexible enough that we were able to use it for our project. We will be adding features to the site over the next few months, and NYU Press intends to add more books over time. We have also built the site in such a way that we can use the EPUB-reading platform more generally. If other EPUB collections come along, we will be ready to receive them.