Via Publishers Weekly
First Book, a nonprofit organization that provides new books and educational materials to school and organizations serving children in need in the U.S. and Canada, is expanding the scope of its enterprise. During the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, held September 23–36 in New York City and hosted by former President Bill Clinton, First Book announced its CGI Commitment to Action, unveiling its plan to extend its program globally and bring books and resources to 10 million children worldwide by 2016. The group, which has partnered with publishers to distribute more than 100 million new books since 1992, will focus its new efforts initially in India, Brazil, Egypt, and other parts of the Middle East.
To take its flagship book distribution model to the global level, the organization has launched the First Book Global Marketplace, making culturally relevant books available for purchase, at deep discounts, by educators and organizations serving children in poverty. The initial selection of titles includes books in English, French, and Spanish; stories from India, Tanzania, Tibet, and Cambodia; and other titles with universal appeal. First Book will continue working with publishers to add more titles for which they have global distribution rights.
First Book’s global initiative will include e-books and digital resources as well as traditional print content. “We are a cautious group, and test the waters before we take on something new,” said Zimmer. “We have done enough on the e-book front to know that we can do it well, and that digital content is needed by the people we are serving. Those are our two biggest criteria.”