LYRASIS and Michigan Publishing announce the successful integration of the Fulcrum platform with Library Simplified/SimplyE and The Readium Foundation’s Thorium Desktop Reader. 

This initiative brings together three open source reading and content delivery platforms, utilizing entirely open standards and technologies. By working together, the partners are improving discovery and access for ebooks and supporting the sustainability and scalability of two community-led social enterprises. 

Five years ago, Michigan Publishing and LYRASIS entered into a multifaceted strategic relationship with the goal of advancing scholarly communications and improving access to high quality ebooks to academic, public, consortia, and state libraries. This project represents yet another step toward that goal.  

The initial integration is focused on making hundreds of open access books from University of Michigan Press, Lever Press, Amherst College Press, and other academic presses using Fulcrum available in SimplyE and Thorium Desktop Reader through a set of open protocols. Users can now choose to read content on Mobile, Desktop, and Web as they prefer. The ebooks can be read on  mobile applications such as SimplyE, desktop readers such as Thorium Desktop reader, an open source accessibility desktop reader provided by EDRL (European Digital Reading Lab) for users, and lastly Fulcrum’s own web e-reader.

The adoption of the Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS) protocol, core to the integration, lays the foundation for other open technologies such as licensed content protection (LPC) DRM and Readium Desktop available to academic publishers, distributors, and libraries. The Thorium Reader renders EPUB3s in a way that is highly accessible for visually-impaired and dyslexic readers. It is free, with no ads and no leaks of private data, making it the perfect tools for heavy readers, library patrons, and students.

James English, Product Strategist for LYRASIS, says, “This collaboration with Michigan Publishing demonstrates a powerful approach for improving the sustainability of these different open source programs. Our integration and mutual support leverages the scale and maintenance of multiple communities toward the common goal of making content easily accessed by readers and researchers. When communities collaborate they can help scale one another as they seek to support these technologies, maintain and grow adoption.”

Jeremy Morse, Director of Publishing Technology at Michigan Publishing, adds: “Instead of locking users into end-to-end workflows, Fulcrum has always been focused on modularity. Rather than creating new silos, our goal is to collaborate with philosophically-aligned partners who handle other functions, like library workflow management, well. Inter-platform technical design requires trust, and we really feel we have that with LYRASIS.”

“LYRASIS always strives to build partnerships that strengthen the wider community, so we are excited to deepen our partnership with Michigan Publishing,” says Robert Miller, CEO of LYRASIS. “By working together to integrate Fulcrum with SimplyE, we are able to enhance the features for SimplyE users and extend and support the adoption and use of Fulcrum, which benefits us all.”


LYRASIS (, a non-profit membership organization, partners with member libraries, archives, and museums to create, access, preserve and manage information, with an emphasis on digital content, while building and sustaining collaboration, enhancing operations and technology, and increasing buying power. Library Simplified is an open source application built by libraries for libraries to improve ebook access to library users on mobile devices and the web.  It is offered as a hosted turnkey – service by LYRASIS with a standard integration into free content provided by the DPLA Exchange Marketplace.

About Michigan Publishing

Michigan Publishing is the publishing division of University of Michigan Library. Fulcrum is a community-based, open source publishing platform developed by Michigan Publishing that helps publishers present the full richness of their authors’ research outputs in a durable, discoverable, accessible and flexible form. It has been developed with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and now supports over 10,000 ebooks from more than 125 different publishers. Flagship publishers hosted on Fulcrum include University of Michigan Press, Lever Press, Amherst College Press, BAR Publishing, and the participants in the ACLS Humanities E-Book Collection