[access-uk] Re: Ethics of book sharing services

This thread on accessible books has turned out to be a stimulating one.  Cannot 
help wondering at how forbearing not to say accommodating many of you are about 
RNIB's service, but then when unabridged books are almost as rare as hen's 
teeth I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

What's been said so far leads me to two conclusions as to what has to happen if 
the situation is to improve.

An 'e-book standard has to emerge which in turn will depend on part on e-book 
hardware becoming an attractive alternative to the ordinary print book.  
Whatever that standard turns out to be, PDF, Microsoft, whatever, thorough 
accessibility has to be part of it, with speech/Braille output being an easy 
option.  Many will accept synthetic speech as a way of reading vastly more 
material;  but I for one want my books read professionally by a human.

If that is to happen on a much larger scale then an infra-structure has to come 
into being whereby spoken word editions are handled by companies who do not see 
readers as the only source of demand for their product, and their are other 
people, print handicapped in whatever way, who would much prefer to be read to. 
 Maybe such companies could be jointly financed by large publishers, with some 
state finance too.  I'd envisage a form of organisation partaking of social 
enterprise ethics and the idea of a state agency being combined into audio 
publishing  enterprises.  Afraid I do not see the RNIB qualifying to be a 
candidate for such an enterprise given its track record.

As things stand, I think initiatives like Bookshare are a good move, 
considering that mainstream publishers are so stubbornly determined to evade 
their responsibilities to us.  Seems no one in this country is prepared to work 
hard enough or to kick asse as the Americans would say, to make it happen.
Ray

Personal emails:  Email me at
mailto:ray-48@xxxxxxxx

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "James O'Dell" <jamesodell@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2005 9:20 PM
Subject: [access-uk] Re: Ethics of book sharing services


> Hi Damon
> 
> I don't know how many orders they took, but I did hear a sharp intake of 
> breath when I said I wanted to pay for my copy of the Harry potter book, 
> which seemed to say 'oh no, here we go again'.
> 
> They had to dispatch the book in stages, they sent everyone who had ordered 
> it the first four volumes, then the next four volumes, and so on.  This was 
> better than sending a quarter of the people the whole thing and leaving 
> everybody else without any of the book at all.
> 
> I think I might go down the road of importing the American audio version 
> this time if the British one isn't going to be available quickly, it seems 
> such a waste to have so many volumes of braille, the cost of producing abook 
> like that in braille must be phenomenal, far more than the £12.50 that most 
> of us actually paid for it.  And, believe it or not, I would like the author 
> and publishers to benefit from my purchase.
> 
> What would be really cool is if they would publish Harry Potter on 
> audible.com, although whether their servers would be able to take it is a 
> different question.
> 
> James
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Damon Rose" <damon.rose@xxxxxxxxx>
> To: <access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2005 6:03 PM
> Subject: [access-uk] Re: Ethics of book sharing services
> 
> 
>> Ooh, didn't realise that SBP had been over-run with orders.  Do we know
>> how many orders they took?
>>
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
>> Of James O'Dell
>> Sent: 19 April 2005 18:01
>> To: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> Subject: [access-uk] Re: Ethics of book sharing services
>>
>>
>>
>>> James,
>>>
>>>    The Harry Potter books are the only books, to my knowledge, to have
>>> been made available in audio format, unabridged, at the behest of the
>>> author.
>>
>> Not for reasons of accessibility though, probably down to a very worthy
>> preference for unabridged audio and the story being told as the author
>> intended, which I share.
>>
>>
>> The
>>> delay in the publication of the audio version last time wasn't an
>>> accessibility issue. It was due to problems finding time in Stephen
>> Fry's
>>> schedule. The American audio version was available almost immediately.
>>
>> It becomes an accessibility issue if
>> it prevents people from accessing the book at all, particularly given
>> the
>> buildup to its publication and the fact that blind children wouldn't
>> ahve
>> been able to share the book with sited piers when it was originally
>> published.
>>
>>>    Problems with the Scottish Braille telephone answering service are
>>> not
>>> the responsibility of the author or publishers, even if the initial
>>> responsibility to create accessible format versions is.
>>
>> Exactly.  The Scottish Braille Press did an admirable job.  the reason I
>>
>> mentioned them having to deal with all of those invoices etc was to
>> point
>> out that, as a charity, they were overwhelmed with orders for this book,
>> and
>> that just shows the difference in scale between people like Scottish
>> Braille
>> Press and the big publishers, and that they can't be expected to manage
>> the
>> whole book industry for blind people on their own, as so many publishers
>>
>> seem to expect them to.
>>
>>>    The fact that these books are made available to the mainstream
>>> market
>>> is.
>>> a step forward. The fact that they are unabridged is one step more.
>>> They're still expensive and the timing last time around wasn't ideal,
>> but
>>> let's not waste time bashing one of the few authors/publishers where
>> some
>>> progress is being made.
>>
>> Yes, progress is being made, but I doubt much of this is really aimed at
>>
>> improving access, we are just riding on the back of mainstream
>> provision.
>> If we can't get the same access, at the same time, at the same price,
>> with
>> mmaterial as commercially popular as Harry potter, that is guaranteed to
>>
>> sell well, what hope have we got with lesser-known works?  The people
>> who
>> deserve the real credit are people like Michael Palin, who has worked
>> with
>> the specialist libraries to make his books accessible.  He may be
>> nearing
>> the end of his travelling career, but I could imagine him recording his
>> books and making the electronic versions available to NLB even if  BBC
>> Audio
>> Books were to lose interest.
>>
>> Cheers
>>
>> James
>>
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