you interested in trying Bookshare? What is the cost of this platform? Here is all you need to know about Bookshare, how it works, and who qualifies for using it.
What Is Bookshare?
Bookshare is an online digital platform by Benetech, and it was designed for people with print disabilities. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it refers to any type of disability that will prevent people from reading regular printed books.
This includes visual impairment, low vision, dyslexia, cerebral palsy, and many others. Bookshare started working in 2001, and it quickly became one of the most popular digital libraries. The platform provides accessibility, and incredible content you can check out.
So, if you need a book in electronic braille, if you have a learning disability or any other physical disability that will make reading difficult or impossible, Bookshare is a great platform for you.
Qualifications for users
One thing you should know is that the platform is available only for individuals that have a reading disability, visual impairment, or any other condition that will make reading standard books difficult or impossible.
And this means that Bookshare is not available for everyone, but just for those that need a similar app. Needless to say, it is a wonderful idea, and it can help so many people across the globe.
It is also worth mentioning that Bookshare has two different programs based on whether you are an individual or an organization, and your location on the planet.
Cost for individual users
The first thing you will need to understand about Bookshare is that there are no unique membership fees. It is possible that you will have a different price compared to other people, and there are several important categories to know.
For individual membership, there are three main categories:
- U.S. students
- U.S. non-students
For all students that live in the U.S., the subscription to Bookshare is free. As long as they meet other criteria. If they are not students but still live in the U.S., the price is $50 per year. Finally, people that don’t live in the U.S. will have a unique price plan based on the country.
This means that international subscription fees may vary, and they are based on income. Thanks to OSEP or the Office of Special Education Programs and the U.S. Department of Education, any student can receive free membership if they have a qualifying print disability.
Cost for organizations
If you are looking to apply as an organization, you will have a different subscription cost. The payment system used for individuals doesn’t apply here, and you will need to see whether your organization is able to access Bookshare.
The first thing to mention here is that schools in the United States will have free access if they qualify. As for other organizations, the only way to know whether the platform is available is to contact www.bookshare.org and see what the qualifications are.
The same thing applies to organizations that aren’t in the U.S. And while it might seem that the process is complicated, it’s not. All you need to do is contact Bookshare, and you will get the necessary details.
As mentioned earlier, international pricing is based on your country and how it ranks based on the details provided by the World Bank. There are three main categories for international individuals.
The first one is for upper-income countries, and there will be no discount. This means that you will pay the full price, which is $50 per year. The second category is middle income, and the subscription plan is $30 per year.
Finally, there is low or lower-middle income for some countries, and the subscription is free. If you are curious about the details, you can see the list of all countries on the World Bank, and see the price based on your region.
Additional tools for those with disabilities
While Bookshare is an excellent platform, it is far from being the only way to improve accessibility. There are plenty of other additional assistive technologies people with disabilities can use to access various content online.
And in the past couple of years, one of the most popular ones is text-to-speech apps. With these tools, you will be able to turn any type of text into an audio format, they are easy to use, and work great for any online content.
One of the best text to speech apps you can find today is Speechify. It is available across multiple platforms, it has an intuitive UI, and lifelike voices only improve immersion. Speechify also supports numerous different languages.
If you are someone who enjoys audiobooks and podcasts, you can easily make your own files from digital books. At the same time, Speechify supports Audible, and you can use the platform for these audiobooks as well.
And even if you own a physical copy of the book, Speechify has OCR, which allows you to turn physical texts into voice in just a couple of steps.
You can always check out native text-to-speech apps you have on your device. Almost every type of smartphone, tablet, and PC today has built-in software that will allow you to convert text to voice.
These are found in the accessibility tab, and they can be quite good. Of course, the functionalities are often limited, and they will act as simple screen reading tools. If you want something more, the answer is Speechify.
Does Bookshare cost money?
Not necessarily. Bookshare has unique pricing plans based on the location, whether the Bookshare member is an individual or an organization, and a couple of other factors. This means that the platform can be free for qualified U.S. students, but it’s not free for everyone.
Can any student use Bookshare?
No. Not everyone qualifies for Bookshare books since the platform is designed to assist those with disabilities. Bookshare membership requires proof of disability.
How is Bookshare different from other library services?
Bookshare focuses on people that are not able to read standard physical books. The library is unique, and it can help visually impaired people, those with reading disabilities such as dyslexia, and many others.