The European Digital Reading Lab (EDRLab) is an innovative non-profit organization based in Paris, headquarter of both IDPF and the Readium Foundation and member of the W3C. Its main objectives are to promote the adoption of the EPUB standard across Europe and dedicate resources to Readium open source software developments. Founder members of EDRLab are: Editis, Hachette, Madrigall, Media Participations, Syndicat National de l’édition, Cercle de la Librarie, Centre National du livre, Cap Digital, the French Ministry of Culture, the French Ministry of Economy and Finance. The association is expanding fast and should reach 50 European members by the end of year 2016.

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 approximately 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding.

New York Public Library entrance

The New York Public Library

What do these two organizations have in common? They have recently decided to collaborate on the development of open-sourced mobile applications based on the Readium EPUB 3 reading engine.

This collaboration has three aspects: ebook lending management, accessibility and enhancements of the user experience on mobile devices.

EDRLab is currently developing Readium LCP, a vendor-neutral, interoperable and accessible Digital Rights Management technology that is embeddable in any application based on the open-source Readium SDK. EDRLab will help on the integration of Readium LCP inside the Library Simplified codebase so that library patrons can have, at last, a fluid experience when lending ebooks.

NYPL and EDRLab have a common mission to improve the accessibility of digital publications and reading systems. Both organizations will join their forces to ensure that the Library Simplified mobile app offers a great experience to visually impaired people on both iOS and Android devices.

In order to respond to the rapid increase in use of mobile devices for ebook access, the Readium Foundation, EDRLab and NYPL are launching a major evolution of the Readium SDK codebase, the objectives being better performances and stability, clarity of source code and documentation. The architectural phase has already begun, and the year 2017 will see the birth on a completely refactored version of Readium, called Readium 2. Such work will guarantee that Readium stays for the coming years the best open-source reading engine for EPUB 3 documents.

How and when was born the collaboration between EDRLab and the New York Public Library? James English, Sr Product Owner Library Simplified at the New York Public Library exaplains that «it was born out of our association with and membership in the Readium Foundation, of which EDRLab is the European headquarters. As members of the Readium Foundation, EDRLab and NYPL found a common cause around NYPL’s Library Simplified project goals, which are to improve access, openness, and interoperability for eReading systems and the EPUB platform».

As for the application «it is currently available under the name Open eBooks (part of a collaborative initiative to provide free eBooks to children in need), and SimplyE (the Library’s e-reader app) from The New York Public Library. The feature we will collaborate on will be behind the scenes implementation of LCP which is a new Digital Rights Management technology being advanced by EDRLab. Additionally, EDRLab and NYPL are working with Readium to create a new rendering engine called R2 for improved screen reader compatibility and mobile performance».

According to Laurent Le Meur, CTO of EDRLab «the availability of a full-fledged, open-source, mobile reading app based on the Readium SDK is great news. For the Readium development community, it is a valuable tool to check and improve the quality and performance of the codebase of the Readium reading engine. For European public libraries, this codebase can be used as a reference to create their own branded reading application, tailored to their use. This is why we are happy to help NYPL implementing the vendor-neutral Readium LCP rights management solution in this application.»