[bksvol-discuss] Re: A couple of notes on Bookshare.org

Excellent letter, Jim. Thank you for taking the time
to write and explain. :-)

Cindy R

--- Jim@xxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

> Just a few data-points on some of the generous
> questions raised on the
> list:
> 
> 1.  Your money going to subsidize other Benetech
> projects.  Not in much
> danger of that: we have to raise $4 from
> philanthropy for every dollar
> we're getting from Bookshare.org subscribers.  Why? 
> We're raising more
> money at the moment to add staff and engineering
> resources.  Plus, $50
> for all the books you can read is relatively cheap.
> 
> 2.  The benefits of being part of an organization
> that has six projects
> and not just one.  7 technical staff with different
> skills instead of
> part of one which is what Bookshare.org can
> currently afford.  A two
> person fund raising team (which scores $100,000 of
> foundation funding
> for Bookshare.org last week).   Me spending lots of
> my time on policy
> issues (making sure K-12 textbooks actually get to
> print impaired
> students) and trying to get quality books directly
> from publishers to
> improve book quality.  Being part of a large(r)
> organization means that
> Bookshare.org benefits from having full-time people
> and skillsets to tap
> that it cannot afford.  
> 
> 3.  Slow pace of change.  Three reasons.  
> - The first is we're still tiny, which means we're
> not a rich
> organization with tons of resources.  We're making
> tradeoffs all the
> time.
> - The second is that over the last two years we have
> not done a good job
> of making all of the changes we know are needed. 
> We're changing and
> hiring as a result, and I think this will lead to
> better progress.  But,
> it's not a switch that turns on in an instant.
> - Priorities.  We've chosen to improve customer
> service by hiring John
> Glass, and we've chosen to replace the servers to
> improve speed and
> reliability (a process we are half-way through but
> you should have seen
> some improvements on both fronts in the last few
> weeks).  We've hired
> Jennifer Sutton to improve the quality of books and
> deal with thousands
> of books that could be in our process by getting one
> of the world's
> leading experts on DAISY to join us.    
> 
> Benetech is a nonprofit organization.  We're here
> for mission reasons,
> and our team wants to do the best job they can.  I
> hope that our
> community will join in being encouraging us
> constructively to do better,
> and respecting our desire to do that. 
> 
> Jim Fruchterman
> 
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> 


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