Making a book accessible to the blind via Bookshare

There’s a misconception floating about that advocacy has to be a huge undertaking and thus we need to take on the United States government to become advocates. I don’t think that’s true, and here’s y. aside from the big campaigns that I am doing, I do small things as well, such as what I’ve done yesterday and today. Making a book accessible to the blind and the visually impaired, and by accessible, I mean accessible to all blind and visually impaired and not just the ones with IPhones and Mac computers alone. This way, everyone’s included and everyone, regardless of platform, will benefit.

About two days ago an email was forwarded to me about a book called Alice in Tumblr land, based off a blog. See link below for the kindle edition.

Alice in Tumblr-land: And Other Fairy Tales for a New Generation

But I knew that the blind people who forwarded the email to me didn’t have an iPhone. More importantly, I didn’t have an iPhone either. The kindle version wouldn’t be accessible to us so the hunt began to try to find a plain PDF version of the book. I’ve looked at many book places, book websites, and have even tried looking for an audio version. I couldn’t find anything that would help us. The blog was nice to have but we wanted to read on our victor reader stream and, in my case, book sense. Portable reading would have been nice, when I would be in bed, for example.

So I set out to contact the author of the book directly. I didn’t want to reach out via twitter because what I needed to say was going to be longer than 140 characters so I set about looking for a way to email him directly.

I figured that was the best option. I just didn’t have the time to stage a formulated coo, fire blast off an email with bulleted quotes of the ADA to his publisher, wait for a generic reply and then assemble a legal faction that would rival the population of the United States and take his publishers into court to display to other companies that this is what will happen to you if you don’t place us blind people first on the priority list. I had a sandwich that I wanted to eat and then I had a date with a gorgeous black man in a few hours. I didn’t want to sweat with the excursion because it would mess up my hair. I don’t know how leaders of the nations’ blind do it.

So I decided to contact the author via Goodreads and ask him, Tim Manley, if there was an audio book available. Since I couldn’t find his contact info on his Tumblr page I figured that Goodreads was the best way to go.

The reply came the next day, saying that he didn’t know of a plain PDF version, and he’s working on an audio book version but nothings definite yet. Did I have any ideas?

As it turns out, I did have an idea.

Bookshare was accessible across all devices. I couldn’t submit his book to NLS because a team of people select books to be recorded for the blind. I don’t understand that but I guess if anything is operated by the government then teams have to decide everything.

I directed him to the page for authors, and then received another reply the same day.

He’s going to fill out the form right away and then let me know what happens with bookshare and then let me know if and when it gets to be on bookshare. This is great! I’m going to ask him about his publisher partnering with bookshare as well.

Even though this is a very small bit of selfish advocacy, because I really want to read the book, I’m sure it will definitely help someone else who stumbles across the book in the future. It also just goes to show that authors are not as anti-blind and anti-audio book as some blind people make them out to be.

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Robert W Kingett

Robert Kingett is a gay blind journalist, and author, with many publications in magazines, anthologies, and blogs. He has judged many writing contests and has won many awards for his writings and advocacy.

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