[booksandbeyond] Bookshare Comes to the UK

  • From: "Nancy J. Lynn" <freespirit52@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <"Undisclosed-Recipient:;"@freelists.org>
  • Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2007 15:13:46 -0500

Bookshare comes to the UK
By Paul Crichton
10 Oct 07, 04:32 PM
, who have made books available in accessible
formats in the US for years, are bringing
their service to the UK.
Bookshare is a not-for-profit organisation that
relies upon an army of volunteers
to scan books for conversion into either DAISY
compatible audio files, or BRF format
for Braille readers. Those books are then made
available to their members via their
Americans have enjoyed Bookshare's services for
years, thanks to an exemption in
US copyright law that makes it legal to reproduce books in accessible 
There is no equivalent exemption in UK copyright
law, so Bookshare must seek permission
from UK publishers and authors to reproduce their
works in an accessible format.
Although the same range of titles are not yet
available to UK users as for those
in the US, several thousand books can still be
downloaded, from fiction to technical
manuals, and the database is only likely to grow with time.
To gain access to Bookshare's collection of
books, users must send them printed proof
of their disability.
There is also a registration and annual
membership fee of US $75 dollars combined,
and with the current exchange rate, that works
out at around a pretty modest £37.
Whilst Bookshare offers a great service, don't
think that this in any way lets publishers
off the hook from their responsibilities.
Scanning is an imperfect process. An 'S'
might easily become a '5', for example, so some
texts can be rendered virtually impossible
to follow.
The publishing industry must still make more
titles available in accessible formats,
and not just feel they are doing their bit by
helping out organisations like Bookshare.
end of article

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