Accessibility

Nonprofit Delivers 10 Million Accessible E-Books

A California-based nonprofit has reached a significant milestone: delivering more than 10 million accessible e-books worldwide.

Benetech works to “empower communities in need by creating scalable technology solutions,” according to a prepared statement. Through its Bookshare initiative, more than 425,000 K–12 and higher education students in 70 countries have downloaded e-books from Bookshare’s online library. The e-books are for individuals who are blind, visually impaired or have a disability that makes reading difficult, such as dyslexia.

“I started using Bookshare in middle school,” a member said in a statement. “The impact was amazing. I could complete assignments on my own, keep up with my classmates and really excel in school. I now attend Cornell University and help others unlock the power of Bookshare.”

Benetech collaborates with more than 820 publishers, collecting new releases and existing books that are inaccessible to individuals who cannot read standard print. Bookshare’s technology “converts the digital files to accessible formats, including braille, audio, highlighted text and large-font text,” according to a statement. The Bookshare library is free for all U.S. students with qualifying print disabilities.

In addition to its e-book library, Benetech released a set of resources called Born Accessible that aim to help publishers and other content creators understand how to make content accessible from the start. Bookshare estimates that “90 percent of all books are still inaccessible to hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide.”

To view the resources or the e-book library, visit the Benetech site.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at sravipati@1105media.com.

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