Regardless of whether you like the Kindle or iPad, it’s hard to deny the sheer number of quality books available in digitized form. But the books selection for blind and dyslexic readers is lackluster, to say the least, with only 5% of published titles available online. Good news for all blind readers craving a copy of Howard Stern’s Private Parts, the nonprofit Internet Archive is embarking on a project to make a million books accessible in a digital form that can be read by the devices that blind readers use to convert text to speech.
In the past, many books haven’t been accessible to the visually impaired because of myriad copyright issues. But according to the AP, the Internet Archive uses a loophole–libraries are allowed to make books available to the disabled. And apparently, the archive counts as a library.
The project, which is being funded by the government, libraries, foundations, and corporations, won’t be easy. Hundreds of people at Internet Archive scanning centers will work on bringing titles into the database. But the end result–a wide variety of free books for the visually impaired–will be rewarding. And it’s only fair, since the rest of us get free access to books via libraries whenever we want.