RNIB Bookshare celebrates reaching half a million books in accessible formats

An accessible book service from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is celebrating reaching half a million books.

RNIB Bookshare, which supports print-disabled learners, has a vast UK education collection that provides textbooks and materials to support the UK curriculum from early years to adult education. The free service, which can be accessed by teachers, students and now parents in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, has a range of accessible formats so books can be read electronically or adapted to suit personal reading needs. Books for leisure reading are also available.

RNIB Bookshare has publications from 850 publishers including well-known names such as Taylor & Francis, Springer Nature, Harper Collins and Penguin. Some of these publishers have a direct feed meaning they can upload new and existing material directly on to the system, so people are able to access what they need without any delay.

RNIB Director of Services David Clarke said: “With the rise in home schooling as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, RNIB Bookshare has become even more essential. We are delighted that the service now has 500,000 books giving millions of people the opportunity to literally open up their education with access to materials that allow for an entirely independent learning experience.”

Springer Nature is a key contributor to RNIB Bookshare with approximately 83,000 books on the platform. Publishing & Licensing Manager at Macmillan Education, Eleanor Ricketts said: “At Springer Nature we want to make sure that everyone can make use of our content, so we work with the RNIB’s Bookshare programme to provide materials in a variety of accessible formats, opening up learning to those with a print-disability.”

The RNIB Bookshare service was established in 2016 to help tackle the worldwide book famine, which sees less than 10 per cent of published works being made into accessible formats, such as braille, large print or audio. To sign up to RNIB Bookshare, or for more information on the service, please visit www.rnibbookshare.org

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