Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, March 02, 2012

Most Affordable E-Book Reader for the Blind Hits the Market

Now, blind Readers Can Access eText for Less than the Cost of an Evening Out

In the age of technology, when most people turn to the Internet for information, and a laptop is practically a necessity in the workplace or at school, the e-book is rapidly becoming as common and important to daily life as its paper-bound counterpart. Access to printed information for the Blind is more important now than ever, and though there is a variety of software available to make electronic books and documents accessible, it either comes complete with a price only few could afford without assistance from a school or rehab agency, or does not allow the reader to open even a minority of the various eText formats.

Christopher Toth, a blind software developer, aims to change that with QRead, the first e-reader for the blind that is affordable even to the average college student.

QRead is a program that provides blind users with fast and efficient screen-reader access to most common e-book formats, including both PDF, the industry standard for textbooks, ePub, a format popular for technical titles and fiction as well as many others. Users can open and tab between an unlimited number of books, place an unlimited number of bookmarks, and return to their current place in each book even after a session has ended. QRead offers the ability to read continuously, “skim” through a text by percentage, and even search for specific passages with its “Find” feature.

QRead interfaces directly with all major screen reading software, including JAWS for Windows, Window-Eyes, Super Nova, System Access, and the free and open source NVDA.

The program goes on sale today for an introductory price of $20, and is expected to retail for $30. Its nearest competitors are available for upwards of $80.

Mr. Toth says his software offers a unique benefit in addition to affordability.

“Historically, access to PDF, ePub and other eText formats has been cumbersome, difficult or even impossible. I invented QRead to fix this, and in the process have created a tool which will vastly improve your reading experience, regardless if you're a casual reader, student, or professional”, he states.

For more information about QRead and other accessibility software developed by Toth, visit

Christopher Toth is a freelance software developer in Tallahassee, Florida. His projects focus primarily on breaking down the access barriers faced by blind consumers of technology on a daily basis. He is the creator of Hope, the accessible Pandora Radio client, and contributes regularly to various open-source projects. Toth has been blind since early infancy as a result of Retinoblastoma, and started writing software while he was in high school. He founded Q Software Solutions as a means of distributing his ideas and his code to those who will find it most useful.

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