[Athen] FW: [bksvol-discuss] Great news about Bookshare.org

Marks, Jim marks at mso.umt.edu
Wed Oct 3 11:40:51 PDT 2007

Bob, I am surprised by your comments, and I would urge you to elaborate
some more in case I'm misunderstanding you. Shouldn't any library be
able to offer its holdings for free? Why should people with
disabilities be singled out with requirements like being forced to
purchase a print book we cannot use just to get a book we can read?
I've never understood this ethic well, especially when one considers
that the cost of converting a book to a truly usable format is almost
always far more expensive than the market value of the print book. I've
heard all the arguments that the proof of purchase bit is a good thing,
but it's at best a gesture. And it's a gesture that ought not keep
people from information solely because of a print disability. The
property rights boogieman is a tool of oppression. It's entirely
possible for civil rights and property rights to co-exist. I want to go
to my library and read it's materials for free. That's what most people
want from a library, print disabled or not.

For whatever it's worth, I think the grant will create more
accessibility all across the nation. The money will drive the
improvements, and the Bookshare folks are well aware of the challenges
they face in stepping up their services. My office has been
contributing e-text to Bookshare for several years now. Our
contribution numbers are not huge, but this grant will entrench
Bookshare more deeply in the post-secondary world. I'll bet more
colleges will be contributing soon, and that publishers will be doing
the same. It's not going to be "the" answer by a long shot, but the
grant is pretty good news if you're a student with a print disability.

Jim Marks
Director of Disability Services
University of Montana
jim.marks at umontana.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Robert Martinengo
Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2007 3:00 PM
To: Access Technologists in Higher Education Network
Subject: Re: [Athen] FW: [bksvol-discuss] Great news about Bookshare.org

I think this grant could finally wake up educational publishers to the
reality that the government is paying a middle-man to give away the
publishers intellectual property.

There is no stipulation from Bookshare that students have to buy their
books in order to receive their services, so they will be getting their
materials free. Not a bad deal for students, but it will rankle

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