Talking Books Aid Visually Impaired, Physically Disabled

(NewsUSA) Whether for escape, enlightenment, or pure joy, books allow us to connect to other places and times. Fortunately for the millions of Americans who have impaired vision or a physical disability, there are braille and talking books from the National Library Service NLS.

NLS is the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, part of the Library of Congress. Established in 1931, the organization’s mission is to enrich the lives of its patrons by offering them books, magazines, music scores, and other materials in audio and braille at no charge. Unlike traditional audiobooks that are provided at public libraries or sold at retail bookstores, audiobooks offered by NLS are unabridged, extensive and diverse, and are designed specifically for people who are unable to read regular print.

NLS provides its services to any U.S. resident or U.S. citizen living abroad who is blind, has low vision, or has a physical disability that makes it difficult to hold a book. Thousands of bestsellers, classics, biographies, nonfiction works, and more can be downloaded from the Internet or ordered for home delivery through a nationwide network of cooperating libraries.

Those with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, loss of the use of their arms or hands, or prolonged

Talking Book Player

weakness can access the NLS collection. So, too, can people with temporary limitations resulting from strokes or accidents.

Now avid readers like San Francisco resident Ivana Kirola, 38, who suffers from cerebral palsy, can continue to satisfy their interests, which for Kirola range from politics, to travel, to music

“I really appreciate the services from NLS,” Kirola says. “They help me in my daily life, in understanding people and keeping up to date with the news. My favorite part of NLS is the widened horizons that reading audiobooks gives to me.”

Along with her love of books, Kirola attends a yoga class at the San Francisco Library—one of NLS’s regional partners.

“The thing that has helped me is to remain persistent in what I would like to experience,” says Kirola. “Sometimes what you need is elusive, but it’s important not to give up. There are solutions for everything, but sometimes it takes persistence to find out what they are.”

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The Author Next Door: The New Reality in Book Publishing


(NewsUSA) – In recent years, the entire landscape of the publishing industry has changed, and now thousands of authors whose books might otherwise never have seen the light of day are getting published. Following in the footsteps of film and music, publishing is undergoing an “indie” revolution whereby authors invest in their own work to bring their books to the marketplace.

“The indie publishing revolution is all about providing opportunity and expanding the options for both writers and readers,” says Kevin Weiss, CEO of Author Solutions, whose imprints include AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Xlibris and Trafford. “You no longer need to wait years for the chance of being published; becoming an author is no longer a privilege, and the literary world is now accessible to everyone.”

Indie book publishing has also expanded the reasons people write and publish a book. Books are now being used in genuinely new ways — from raising awareness of important social causes to adding to a businessperson’s marketing arsenal and providing significant leverage to attract the attention of a major publisher — books are now multi-faceted “tools.”

Reg Green is an example of the wonderful power of a book to raise awareness of a pressing social issue. After his son Nicholas was tragically murdered, and he and his wife chose to donate his organs, Reg became a leading advocate for organ transplantation. He turned to the pen, too, publishing “The Gift that Heals” through AuthorHouse, which chronicles inspirational stories about organ donation.

New York Times Best Seller – Cover Image

Another example, Lisa Genova, was told that nobody would want to read her book “Still Alice,” a novel about a 50-year-old Harvard professor’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. After repeated rejections from traditional publishing houses, Genova chose to self-publish through iUniverse. A literary agent told her she would be basically committing literary suicide if she self-published, and that no publisher would touch her book once she published it independently.

To put it mildly, the agent was wrong.
After a few months and positive reviews, “Still Alice” was picked up by Simon & Schuster and became a New York Times bestseller.

“If you believe in your book, I think you should give it a chance,” Genova said. “Still Alice” was a book that people already identified with, and a major publisher saw the book’s potential in a very real way.”
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