For people who cannot use standard print, the increasing availability of digital books and services such as Benetech’s Bookshare library are a boon that is unlocking the world of reading, says The New York Times.
In a story titled “An App to Aid the Visually Impaired,” author Jonah Bromwich highlights Bookshare as a “notable advantage” of an app called Spotlight Text. This reading tool, explains Bromwich in App City, The New York Times’ biweekly column about influential mobile apps, is outfitted with adjustable scrolling text, adjustable font, sharp contrast, and text-to-speech features—all of which make reading accessible to individuals with visual impairments, including those who have a limited field of vision due to diseases such as macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. With accessible reading tools and ebooks at their fingertips, these people can once again enjoy reading and have equal opportunity to succeed at school and the workplace.
Spotlight Text was developed by New York-based ophthalmologist and retina surgeon Dr. Howard Kaplan. Bookshare, reports Bromwich, has formed a partnership with Dr. Kaplan and “its enormous library, with close to 350,000 titles, can be found within Spotlight Text by doing a simple search.” The combined price of Spotlight Text and the Bookshare membership “is nothing,” emphasizes Dr. Kaplan in the story, “compared to the medical devices usually recommended to those with impaired vision.”
You can read the full story on The New York Times’ website.