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Pam Finkelman

Bookshare for my 94 year old Dad?

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I have just begun my search for a way for my 94 year old father who has developed serious macular degeneration to access books. He was an avid reader of enormous history books and his loss of vision has seriously depressed him.  Is Bookshare a way for him to learn to “hear” books? He has some shaking in his hands so the technical process has to be simple.  Most of the info discussed in this forum is for young people. Can someone tell me if I am in the right place, and if so, how to get started.  Thanks so much.  

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Hi Pam,

Bookshare can definitely be a great source for content for your father, but lets make sure it's something he would be interested in.  The first big roadblock some of our new members have is getting used to our voicing.  We don't have any human narrated content, all of our content is read through a synthetic text to speech voice.  Depending on the device and application he decides to use to access our books this voice can be different, and often times we have several options for voices, but they'll always be a little robotic.

The second piece is we don't mail any content out to our members.  This is something the National Library Service for the Blind does, and is also a great resource so regardless I highly recommend checking them out: https://www.loc.gov/nls/

If that however all sounds great I highly recommend starting by signing him up for Bookshare.  Note for our non-US students we do have a small $50 per year subscription fee, but for that fee he can read as many books as he likes from Bookshare.  We would need to figure out what kind of device or computer he wishes to use to access our books as the process of downloading our content does change, but for instance the applications we have on iPads or iPhones are well reviewed and easy to use.  

 

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