Monday, April 06, 2020

Can smaller publishers effectively provide their books for the blind? It doesn't sound easy, as for the economics

Since we’ve heard about issues for ADA compliance with the blind for websites (at least when they are selling things aggressively or raising money) it’s natural to wonder, should the same question exist for books themselves?

It doesn’t look like it’s easy for the digital world to make Braille effective.  Forbes has an article here from 2012, as does the Braille Institute.   Wikipedia has an article here.

You can ask what the role of audio books would be.  For best selling authors, the traditional publishing industry churns them out. 

Andrew Liptak writes for the Verge that traditional publishers don’t like Amazon’s recent rush to make audio captions widely available.
And for self-published authors with smaller book volume, the numbers can’t possibly work.  Audio books are expensive to produce until you have a lot of scale.
People with disabilities can reasonably be concerned that entrepreneurs, even small ones, should pay attention to them if they will be in business with the open public at all.  But it isn't really possible without a lot of scale, so aggressive pursuit of aims like this could affect smaller publishers (or businesses in general) if aggressively pursued. Furthermore, industry standards of what should be expected would be vague and hard to pin down for along time. 

I find it interesting that John Fish’s channel has videos sponsored by Audio Books.  For a video content producers who encourages visitors to read prodigiously large numbers of books, the time taken to listen to an audio book (a lot longer than to watch a film) seems like a contradiction.  But you can play them when jogging (for a marathon – John is a runner) or working out (when the gyms can reopen).
Update: Monday, May 4, 2020:
If a book is available on Kindle the user can copy the Kindle file to a PDF on their computer and probably then use a screenreader if needed. Gizmo article.  Theoretically, this idea might satisfy ADA concerns if anyone raises them. But this sounds like a troubling question. 

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