At the 2011 ATIA (Assistive Technology Industry Association) conference in Orlando, Florida, Benetech®, the parent nonprofit for Bookshare®, announced Read2Go, a new accessible e-book application (app) developed in partnership with Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd, known for its PLEXTALK® brand of digital talking book players.
Read2Go is the most full-featured, accessible DAISY reader for the Apple device market. This very easy-to-use app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch connects directly to Bookshare for immediate on-the-go reading. From within the app, individual users and schools supporting students can search, download, and read Bookshare books and periodicals and manage their books in a bookshelf. In addition, Read2Go reads DAISY 2.02 and 3.0 materials from some other sources.
Based on reading preferences, users will have a wide range of options for font size, color and background color. Word-by-word highlighting with simultaneous text and speech enables multi-modal reading. The app includes high-quality Acapela voices for highly natural narration. Users will have options to turn the text-to-speech on and off and adjust the rate to their personal preferences. Further, Read2Go supports all levels of DAISY navigation that are included in the structure of the book.
“The Read2Go app is so exciting for so many reasons,” said Valerie Maples. “Both my husband and daughter have been loyal Bookshare users for years and have waited for the release of an app that would let us read Bookshare books on the iPad. The app should attract a large audience, the entire population with print disabilities around the globe!”
“For many students who are blind, physically, or learning disabled, using their iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch means much more than access to the books they need for classes. It means they can read the same books as their peers on the same devices,” said long-time Bookshare advocate Deborah Armstrong, Alternate Media Specialist for DeAnza College in Cupertino, California. “The Read2Go app will offer many advantages for people who are blind as well as those who have physical or learning disabilities, including many features not available on other DAISY readers for Apple devices; the fact that Benetech is releasing this app is a very good thing.”
“This new app furthers our Benetech Literacy goal of making printed content accessible to individuals with print disabilities however and wherever they want it. With Read2Go, we’re offering a mobile reading solution based on strong demand from our users,” said Betsy Beaumon, Vice President and General Manager of the Literacy Program at Benetech, the nonprofit organization that operates Bookshare. “The accessibility built-in to iOS devices and their widespread and growing use highlight their potential to help close the gap for students and other individuals with print disabilities.”
Read2Go will be available this quarter in the iTunes App store and will sell for $19.99. Interested users who would like immediate notification when the app is available can provide contact information on a secure notify list. Additional features, such as study tools, images, and multiple languages, will become be available in the coming months.
For access to Bookshare books on these devices, qualified individuals will need a Bookshare membership.
About Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd., Shinano Kenshi Corporation & PLEXTALK®
Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd. is responsible for the development and manufacture of digital talking book players and other products sold under the brand name of PLEXTALK®. Shinano and PLEXTALK® assistive technology products are created to improve the quality of life, self-reliance and independence of their users. Shinano Kenshi Corporation is the North American subsidiary of Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd.
Benetech is a nonprofit technology company based in Palo Alto, California. Benetech pursues projects with a strong social rather than financial rate of return on investment, harnessing open source technology to create innovative solutions to challenging social issues. The Benetech Bookshare service is the world’s largest accessible online library of copyrighted books for people with print disabilities.
The content of this press release was developed under a cooperative agreement, H327K070001, with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.