New digital collection improves access to Alberta books

The Read Alberta eBooks project on library websites across the province gives access to more than 1,000 titles to library patrons.

With the launch of the Read Alberta eBooks project on library websites across the province, library patrons will have access to more than 1,000 titles.

Alberta Municipal Affairs’ Public Library Services Branch (PLSB) has partnered

with the Book Publishers Association of Alberta (BPAA) to make more than 1,000 Alberta published eBooks available to readers across the province, according to a statement released on Thursday, Feb. 16.

Alberta’s book publishing industry will also benefit from this much-needed $200,000 investment.

These eBooks can now be borrowed through the Cantook Station platform on public library websites.

The largest of its kind in Canada, the collection represents 24 Alberta publishers, according to the statement.

Genres include literary fiction, graphic novels, poetry, drama, mystery, memoir, biography, self-help, humour, scholarly literature, young adult and speculative fiction.

This partnership between the government and book publishers gives Alberta readers better access to locally-made content, and supports an important cultural industry, the statement said.

Provincial investment is needed to help the publishing industry recover and grow, and with this investment being continual and ongoing, as PLSB continues to fund the growth of the collection over the years, this project seems to be the boost that the region’s publishing industry needed.

According to the press release, over the past 15 years, 40 per cent of Alberta’s professional book publishers have relocated, sold their assets out of the province, or shut down entirely.

To ensure that these e-books are benefiting Albertans, it might be helpful to know that Cantook Station is a Canadian eBook distribution platform; these eBooks can be borrowed by all Alberta public library patrons, with each title being borrowed simultaneously up to a circulation cap of 50 lends, and print copies of many of the collection titles are also available from library branches.