Over 1 Million Digital Books Now Available Free from the Internet Archive

More than doubling the number of books available to print disabled people of all ages, the Internet Archive launched a service that brings free access to more than 1 million books, from classic 19th century fiction and current novels to technical guides and research materials, available in the specially designed format to support those who are blind, dyslexic or are otherwise visually impaired.

The Internet Archive will also invest in the growth of its virtual bookshelf by funding the digitization of the first 10,000 books donated. Individuals and organizations are welcome to donate their favorite book or a collection of books. Books in all languages welcome. To donate books visit: http://openlibrary.org/bookdrive.

The 1 million+ books in the Internet Archive’s library for print disabled, are scanned from hard copy books then digitized into DAISY, a specialized format used by blind or other persons with disabilities, for easy navigation. Files are downloaded to devices that translate the text and read the books aloud for the user to enjoy. To access books visit: http://openlibrary.org/subjects/accessible_book.

Older books are available from the Internet Archive’s unencrypted DAISY library and modern books can be accessed by “qualified users” through their NLS key, an encrypted code provided by the Library of Congress’ National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), that is dedicated to providing materials to the print disabled. Currently, over 800,000 people in the US are registered with the Library of Congress as being print disabled.

As of this article, the Internet Archive offers over one million books for print disabled people. Other large libraries for the print disabled include NLS, Bookshare.org, and Reading for the Blind & Dyslexic.

By leveraging automated scanning and conversion processes, Internet Archive technicians can conduct a cost-efficient scan of more than one thousand books per day. Books are scanned at sites located in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and other major cities in five countries. Most of the older scanned books have been reformatted for the print-disabled from broad digitizing projects. Scanned physical books came from the collections of over 150 libraries, most of which are in the Open Content Alliance, but others as well. The funding of those scanning projects is coming from foundations, corporations and governments.

Most of the older books have been scanned from library collections, with newer books having been donated to the Internet Archive by companies such as the online bookseller Alibris, libraries and individuals.

The print disabled collection of books are now available through the Archive’s Open Library site (www.openlibrary.org), which serves as a gateway to information about millions of hardcopy books and more than 1 million electronic books.

The Internet Archive will continually increase the number of books it makes available. They are currently seeking donations of books and ebooks from individuals, libraries and publishers. The Archive is announcing today its commitment to fund the scanning and automatic processing of the first 10,000 donated books. Any organization or individual that would like to make particular books or collections available are encouraged to donate them by sending them to the Internet Archive. For donations of large collections please contact the Internet Archive. Financial support is also welcome to expand the program.

To access all books, a United States resident with print disabilities must register with the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/nls/signup.html.

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