The City of London has signed a deal with EPUB and iBooks to create a new eBook marketplace in London.
The new platform will allow ebooks to be downloaded from anywhere in the city, and customers will be able to pay for them from within their e-commerce accounts.
The company said it will make the platform accessible to anyone who wants to get a book on the go, whether they have a local library card or a pay-as-you-go card.
The initiative is part of the City’s Digital Transformation plan, and aims to create more digital opportunities in London by expanding e-books to new platforms.
eBooks are currently available on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other retailers, but the City plans to open e-bookstores in all the city’s major centres.
According to e-reader specialist The Times, Londoners currently pay between £1.10 to £1,10 a day for ebooks, which has become the main cost for many e-readers.
EPUBs have been on a meteoric rise in recent years, but many publishers have struggled to offer e-reading options to their customers.
The City’s move will allow customers to buy and download ebooks from its e-shop, and they will be offered at the same price as the traditional book.
The London Booksellers Association said that the new service will enable customers to access their books at a lower price than what they would otherwise pay.
“We welcome this initiative as it will provide more choice to our customers, including those who are currently not able to access ebooks on a regular basis,” said Aisling McCauley, head of book sales at The Times.
“Many people would be tempted to buy an eBook at the price they would normally pay for a physical book, but this new service enables customers to have the flexibility of ordering an eBook on the fly, or by picking it up from their local library.”
The new service is part on an effort to create an e-payment ecosystem in the UK, which is seeing a lot of interest in e-learning, with some universities also planning to offer an online payment service.
The new ebook marketplace is part in a broader drive to attract more people to the use of e-devices, as well as improve the Citys public transport network.
“The City of Britain is committed to creating a world-class public transport system that is built on the principles of mobility, connectivity and affordability,” a spokesperson for the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said in a statement.
“The new platform we are introducing will allow us to build on the successful success of the e-passbook platform and further strengthen our commitment to delivering a public transport future.”