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You are here: Home Resources Books in Accesible Formats Bookshare - Digital Library for Print Disabled

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Bookshare - Digital Library for Print Disabled PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 06 September 2011 15:01

Bookshare is an initiative of Benetech, a US based high-tech nonprofit that provides technology solutions to social causes that otherwise could not afford them.

Bookshare, based in Palo Alto, California is the world’s largest library of digital books serving the print disabled. A print disabled is someone who is visually impaired, has learning disability such as severe dyslexia or has mobility impairments that prevent them from holding a traditional book.

Bookshare has approximately 50,000 titles as well as magazines, newspapers and has many of the textbooks required for a K-12 education in the United States. Bookshare has 50,000 members and the number is growing daily. We have been selected by the United States Education Department as the source to which print disabled people come to for their informational and educational materials.

The books offered by Bookshare can be accessed in Braille or listened to by the visually impaired through text to speech software or read in large font on the screen by people with low vision problems. They can be downloaded on to CDs, MP3 players etc for ease of use. The text to speech software comes free with the Bookshare membership.

A seven point digital management plan including encryption, watermarking, and fingerprinting ensure that the copyrighted books are available only to qualified members and stays within the community.

Bookshare India- Bookshare recently launched its international program in the India thanks to funding from private philanthropic foundations in the US.

There are 10 million blind people in India and at least 3 million people with mobility and learning disability. In the absence of a special disability laws Bookshare is individually approaching publishers to seek their permission. Currently less than 3% of the books are available in an accessible format (Braille or audio) to the print disabled.

In order to fill this gap, services to members (belonging to the print disabled community) have been launched in India in October, 2008. Bookshare has partnered with three NGOs in India to extend its services to the print disabled community. We work with Saksham Charitable Trust in the North and the East, Xavier’s resource center for the visually challenged in the West and with Worth trust in the South.

The total cost of a 12 month Bookshare membership is Rs.400 (restricted to a download of 100 books per month to prevent misuse). Bookshare also offers organizational memberships. The way an organizational account works is as follows. The organization appoints a central point of contact also known as primary contact. This person will sign up the organization designating themselves as the primary contact. They may appoint additional contacts to help out. They will then register qualified members under the organization on whose behalf the organization will be downloading books. The individual account costs Rs.400 per member per year for an unlimited download. The organizational membership on the other hand purchases book blocks on behalf of their members. The price list is as follows. Since each book will be downloaded on behalf of a certain member and is watermarked and fingerprinted (digitally) for that member to safeguard the interest of the publisher. You will need to download a separate book for each person.

  • A 30 book block costs Rs.1500 (cost per book Rs.50)
  • A 60 book block costs Rs.2250 (cost per book Rs. 37.50)
  • A 100 book block costs Rs.3000 (cost per book Rs.30)

You do not need to use all books purchased in one block at the same time. It is cost efficient to buy a 100 book block and use it over a period of time.

Bookshare’s work with Publishers.

Bookshare has already obtained global permissions from a few publishers in India, Sahitya Akademy, Sheth publications, Orient Blackswan, Seasons Publishing, Oxford University Press and East West Publications, to name a few.

Most importantly, we are striving to involve publishers and authors as partners with us in our quest to bring accessible content to the underserved population of print-disabled readers.



About Bookshare:

The Bookshare Online Library

To know more about Bookshare or to inquire about membership (individual or organizational) please contact

Nirmal Verma-

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Mobile 09313115569

Anubhav Mitra

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Mobile: 09911172225

Last Updated on Friday, 03 February 2012 15:13

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