Readers with Print Disabilities: Quick Facts & Resources

Raising Awareness About Readers with Print Disabilities and the Braille Literacy Crisis

  1. Did you know that blind people aren’t the only ones who need books in formats other than print? Most readers with print disabilities who use recorded and digital books are people with learning disabilities such as dyslexia and people with physical disabilities for whom holding a book is difficult.
  2. Did you know that Braille is still the only option that can give blind and deaf-blind people true literacy on a par with print? Braille provides immediate access to the same information you see with your eyes. Punctuation, spelling, paragraph markings and other essential components of the written word are apparent through touch, as Braille is read just like they are through sight for print readers.
  3. Digital or “refreshable” Braille is making Braille books more available than ever.
  4. Despite this, only 12% of America’s blind kids are taught to read Braille.
  5. Did you know that only 5% of America’s books and magazines are available in alternative formats, such as Braille, recorded and DAISY books?
  6. Of the well under half of otherwise able-bodied blind Americans of working age who actually are employed, over 80% read Braille.
  7. the lost productivity in the US due to blindness and eye diseases is estimated to be $8.0 billion per year.
  8. Why isn’t The Heart of Applebutter Hill available in Braille? It’s about a legally blind girl and by a legally blind author.
  9. Isn’t it time for America’s citizens with print disabilities to have the same availability of books as their print-reading peers?

Results of the Print Giveaway

Blue butterfly on Milkweed: photo by Rich Hill

Thank you to everyone who participated in our efforts to raise awareness about the lack of books in alternative formats for people with print disabilities. The give-away ended August 15, 2014 and resulted in almost twice as many Amazon Customer Reviews as we’d hoped for. Due to this success, we decided to give away three print copies of The Heart of Applebutter Hill instead of one. The winners are Marie Brophy (New York), Joe Drenth (Pennsylvania) and Ann Marie Medlar (Florida). The books were sent, and I received acknowledgments that they arrived safe and sound via snail-mail.

Proceeds from the sale of The Heart of Applebutter Hill are being saved up to cover the cost of transcribing it into Braille; the American Printing House for the Blind estimates the cost at $4250 for the initial transcription plus $100+ to emboss and bind each book. We hope you will enjoy it, purchase it for your friends and local libraries and recommend it to others. The Heart of Applebutter Hill is available in print from Amazon at:

It’s also on Kindle, Nook, Sony, iTunes & Smashwords, and most other eBook outlets.

Readers with Print Disabilities

The Heart of Applebutter Hill is available in alternative formats through Bookshare and is coming soon to Learning Ally.

More Information About Print Disabilities, Accessible Books & Reading Rights

Reading Rights Coalition: Equal & Not Separate Reading Rights

DAISY Consortium: Making Information Accessible for All

National Braille Press – Promoting Braille Literacy, Braille Books, and other Braille Publications

Bookshare: Accessible Books and Periodicals for Readers with Print Disabilities

Learning Ally: the world’s largest library of audio textbooks- making reading accessible for all

National Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped: that all may read

Free Braille Slate & Stylus

NFB is giving out a free Braille slate & stylus to anyone in the US. Dr. Maurer explains the program on this video:

Braille Literacy: National Federation of the Blind – Imagine a future full of opportunity

So, what do you think?

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