UM Press offers new way for people with print disabilities to read its books

by Trade Marketing on August 8, 2011

Price thumb The University of Michigan Press (UM Press), long a provider of books in audio and other alternative formats, has signed a new agreement with Bookshare, a global leader in providing copyrighted, digital accessible books to people with print disabilities. The agreement will increase the number of formats UM Press makes available to the millions of Americans who have print disabilities and give even more people the opportunity to read UM Press books.

Under the agreement, UM Press titles will be included in the Bookshare library. Bookshare will convert electronic versions of UM Press books into digital text (for use with text-to-speech) as well as digital braille. These formats can be used for large print and digital audio. The titles are provided free of charge and the university will receive no revenues.

“We’ve always had a commitment at the Press to making our books accessible to as many readers as possible,” said Karen Hill, Associate Director and Digital Manager. “With this agreement, more than fifty Press titles are available immediately in easy, accessible formats as part of a Bookshare subscription, with many more to come.”

“UM Press titles will increase the academic and scholarly content available in Bookshare,” said Betsy Beaumon, Vice President and General Manager of the Literacy Program at Benetech, the nonprofit organization that operates Bookshare. “With the growth of academic content, more and more qualified college and graduate students are finding the books they need for their studies in Bookshare.”

“Viva accessible books!” said Margaret Price, author of the new book Mad at School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life, which is one of the first UM Press titles to be included in the program. “Programs that provide access to books and other materials in multiple forms are a critical aspect of engagement with digital literacies and twenty-first century technologies.  I’m delighted that UM Press is making this move and delighted that Mad at School is a part of it.”

A Bookshare membership, for people with print disabilities, costs $50 a year with a one-time $25 setup fee. Eligible students may access the service for free. Currently the collection includes 120,000 books and over 200 magazines and newspapers.

The University of Michigan Press is a unit of MPublishing at the University of Michigan Library.

About Bookshare

Bookshare is the world’s largest online accessible library of copyrighted content for people with print disabilities. Through its technology initiatives and partnerships, Bookshare seeks to raise the floor on accessibility issues so that individuals with print disabilities have the same ease of access to print materials as people without disabilities. In 2007, Bookshare received a five-year award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), to provide free access for all U.S. students with a qualifying print disability. The Bookshare library now has over 120,000 books and serves more than 140,000 members. Bookshare is an initiative of Benetech, a Palo Alto, CA-based nonprofit which creates sustainable technology to solve pressing social needs.

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