March 12, 2012 – Palo Alto, CA – Bookshare, the global leader in providing digital accessible books to people with print disabilities, today announced its 10th anniversary. Throughout the last ten years, Bookshare has been at the forefront of the digital book revolution, applying Silicon Valley technology to pioneer an innovative new approach to a library for individuals with print disabilities.
Jim Fruchterman, the CEO and founder of the nonprofit Benetech, the parent organization of Bookshare, envisioned a library of eBooks formed by volunteers digitizing and legally sharing them over the Internet with others with qualified print disabilities (such as blindness, low vision, physical disabilities, or severe learning disabilities). A former rocket scientist and 2006 MacArthur Fellow, Fruchterman acted on his vision and launched Bookshare, introducing an innovative new approach to reading for an underserved population. Continue reading
Jim Fruchterman wants to make the book truly accessible and feels we have a good start, but a long way to go. Bookshare is the largest online library for people with disabilities, they download more than 1 million books per year. His service only serves about 1% of the population, and they turn away so many people who don’t qualify for the free service. He feels this is an untapped market for publishers. People with disabilities want to buy books, read books, listen to books, etc. At bookshare, they do a lot of content conversion to more accessible formats and can offer the content back to the publishers. Their main product is the digital text, which is not a commercial quality ebook, thus you won’t find them on pirated sites. If Bookshare finds any of their titles on pirated sites, they contact the client, remove content, etc. Continue reading
Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak with Ken Petri, the Director of the Web Accessibility Center at The Ohio State University, about the accessibility of eBooks and eBook readers. Ken is incredibly knowledgeable on the topic and offered a great deal of information during the interview. It’s about 25 minutes in length, so I strongly encourage you to download the file before listening due to it’s size. Ken provided us with a great list of resources for various aspects of eBook accessibility, which are below. Thanks Ken!
NSR offers monthly interviews with librarians, publishers, and others involved in the eBook industry. Have a listen from the interviews page. Continue reading
From an O’Reilly Media press release:
For years O’Reilly Media has supplied digital files of our books to Bookshare, a non-profit that provides accessible reading material to the print disabled. For qualifying readers, these ebooks are made available worldwide. And now, through a collaboration with Bookshare, we’ve started making the easy-access DAISY (Digital Accessible Information Systems) formats available within our ebook bundles on oreilly.com for more than 800 titles. Continue reading
Received a press release from OverDrive announcing many enhancements to the OverDrive interface and digital content offerings. The announcements were made today, just shy of the start of the Public Library Association Conference in Portland, Oregon. Those attending the PLA Conference should stop by the OverDrive booth(2347) for demos of all these new features. My favorite is “Open eBooks” – DRM free eBooks in EPUB and PDF formats which can be downloaded and read on nearly all EPUB enabled devices. Here are just a few things mentioned in the press release: Continue reading
Being part of the Wright State University community has given me a whole new perspective on students with disabilities. Approximately 10% of our population is part of this community. It is very difficult for these students to get their textbooks and other course material in a format appropriate to their needs. That has just been made easier with the announcement of the U.S. College and University Partnership with Bookshare. Bookshare is the largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities. Their press release contains all the details of this new program. Text of this release is also below, click on more. Continue reading