Feature Writer John Christie – E-Books For Everyone

For years, the visually impaired community has had to wait for their favorite books to be produced in an accessible format. Now, this is changing with new services called Axis 360 and Blio.

In May, Baker and Taylor made their Axis 360 website accessible to the blind and visually impaired. This website is like gold for people who like to read because this publishing company has the largest collection of print and digital books in the world. Another positive aspect to all this is that their collection of books has also been made screen reader accessible and is compatible with JAWS, Window-Eyes, NVDA, and System Access to Go.

Having this service accessible also ensures that libraries should easily meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as other federal and state laws. It’s definitely to their advantage, though, as these libraries will be able to serve everyone in the community equally.

Marc Maurer, President of the NFB accepts this new endeavor with open arms. He said that he is extremely pleased that books are now more accessible and that libraries will have the ability to better serve the visually impaired and those with print disabilities all over the country.

George Coe, president of Library and Education for Baker and Taylor said that libraries are now able to fulfill their charter by serving every member of the community by taking advantage of new technology and the growing demand for eBooks.

Lisamaria Martinez, who works at LightHouse for the Blind in San Francisco and obtains books from the Bard website, says that with Axis 360 and Blio she will have other options to obtain her reading material. She also states that she will have a wider variety of books to choose from. While the Bard Web site has a lot of political books and biographies, she’s looking forward to browsing a larger collection of popular fiction as well.

It’s so great that the NFB teamed up with Baker and Taylor to make digital and eBooks accessible to the blind and print handicapped. This will surely open up the world of books to millions and give them something to discuss with their sighted peers. This may open up the door for blind readers to join some more mainstream book clubs as well.

For more information about the free Blio software and to establish a free Blio account on up to five PC’S or five mobile devices go to http://www.meetblio.com/. For more information about Baker and Taylor Axis 360, go to http://www.baker-taylor.com/axis360/.

Do any of you currently use Blio or Axis 360? What are your impressions?

Source: https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/bm/bm12/bm1210/bm121012.htm

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