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Obama to Announce Free E-Books for Low-Income Kids

President Barack Obama will go to a public library in one of Washington's poorest neighborhoods on Thursday to talk about a plan to give low-income children access to 10,000 e-books.

Working with publishers and libraries, the White House sees the modest plan as part of a strategy to address inner city problems by increasing educational opportunities for kids -- woes brought into focus with recent riots in nearby Baltimore.

Kids will need computers and devices to read the e-books. Jeff Zients, Obama's top economic adviser, noted the White House had previously announced programs to upgrade Internet services for schools and libraries, with private sector help from companies including Apple, which pledged $100 million in devices to low-income schools.

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"If we're serious about living up to what our country is about, then we have to consider what we can do to provide opportunities in every community, not just when they're on the front page, but every day," Zients said in a briefing with reporters.

The plan includes $250 million in e-book commitments from publishers, including from the five major publishing houses: Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Hachette, and HarperCollins.

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--- Reuters