For some, reading is a daily treasure meant to offer peace and quiet after a complicated day. For others, reading is a chore – a necessarily evil that must be completed to obtain a degree, a certificate or a pass an exam. And for some, reading is a painful reminder of how complicated life can sometimes be.
While more books are being swapped and online books are filling up the cyber-space shelves, one San Francisco company is hoping to help the blind and dyslexic get the most out of reading. The nonprofit Internet Archive in San Francisco hired hundreds of people to scan thousands of books into its digital database — more than doubling the titles available to people who aren’t able to read a hard copy, reports the Associated Press.
Thanks to money from the government, local foundations, libraries and corporations, the book project will be able to put at least 1 million books online for the visually impaired. The online books are added to the digital database thanks to donations from other readers, and range in topic from novels to non-fiction. What’s more, the Internet Archive is scanning a variety of books in different languages so they can be read by the software and devices blind people use to translate written pages into speech.
The online books will also help people with dyslexia – a condition that prevents people from reading words and letters in the proper format. Having a variety of online books available (instead of a handful of the most popular titles) to help more people fight their dyslexia gives readers more options and accessibility to reading.
The digitized books scanned by the Internet Archive will be available for free to visually impaired people through the organization’s website.