Project puts 1M books online for blind, dyslexic
Even as audio versions of best-sellers fill store shelves and new technology fuels the popularity of digitized books, the number of titles accessible to people who are blind or dyslexic is minuscule.
A new service being announced Thursday by the nonprofit Internet Archive in San Francisco is trying to change that. The group has hired hundreds of people to scan thousands of books into its digital database — more than doubling the titles available to people who aren't able to read a hard copy.
Brewster Kahle, the organization's founder, says the project will initially make 1 million books available to the visually impaired, using money from foundations, libraries, corporations and the government. He's hoping a subsequent book drive will add even more titles to the collection.
"We'll offer current novels, educational books, anything. If somebody then donates a book to the archive, we can digitize it and add it to the collection," he said.
The problems with many of the digitized books sold commercially is that they're expensive, they're often abridged, and they don't come in a format that is easily accessed by the visually impaired.
The collections are also limited to the most popular titles published within the past several years.
The Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/
The National Federation of the Blind: http://www.nfb.org/
Open Library: http://www.openlibrary.org/