Accessible e-Book Reader, Read2Go and First Update, Now Available
September 8, 2011, Palo Alto, CA – Benetech®, the parent nonprofit for Bookshare®, announced the immediate availability of Read2Go, a new accessible e-book application (app) for the Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
Developed in partnership with Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd, known for its PLEXTALK® brand of digital talking book players, this very easy-to-use app supports individuals with print disabilities, such as blindness or low vision, a physical disability in which an individual cannot hold a book or turn the pages of a book, or a severe learning disability, like severe dyslexia, that affects reading. Read2Go connects directly to Bookshare’s online collection of over 120,000 books and allows students, schools, and all Bookshare members to easily search, download, and read books and periodicals, all in a single app.
Many readers with different perspectives including parents and students have shared their comments on the new app:
- “The Read2Go app is beautiful in its simplicity. The navigation tools allow even young students to use it effortlessly. The highlighted text-to-speech provides a wonderful opportunity for individuals with print disabilities to increase word recognition and improve fluency. Bravo Bookshare for making a complex process appear seamless and effortless, a true mark of excellence. I would wholeheartedly recommend this app to Bookshare subscribers.” Darla Hatton, a parent of a Bookshare member and dyslexia advocate (www.dyslexiafacts.net)
- “I'm a high school student with dyslexia and find Bookshare essential to help me read all of my school books. With Read2Go I can download a book and start reading it in seconds. I don't stick out in class because people are familiar with iPods. I breeze through books that I would otherwise stumble through. The best part is that I can read books that interest me not only books that are at my reading level.” A 15-year old student
- “As an active user of the IOS platform on the iPhone, I am excited to have been using the new Bookshare Read2Go application since its release in mid-July 2011. An active traveler for both business and pleasure, I am now able to consolidate from many assistive devices with all the various digital accessible reading formats to one platform, the iPhone. I now rely solely on Read2Go for daily reading of the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times. While waiting on the BART train concourse, commuting to work, flying from Oakland to Los Angeles and the east coast, Read2Go now grants me instant access and ease of use to capture and read many books and publications. While other passengers and fellow commuters access both print newspapers and similar electronic text on their mobile device, I can participate in similar mobile reading on a device with trusted software granting an accessible read.” Richard Rueda, User, Director of Community Services, LightHouse for the Blind, San Francisco CA, and President, Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI).
Read2Go is the most full-featured, accessible DAISY reader for the Apple device market. Books downloaded from Bookshare are stored on a bookshelf. Users can choose to read them using text-to-speech with synchronized word-by-word highlighting and audio provided by the highly natural Acapela voices or in VoiceOver mode with the Acapela or Apple voices. Based on reading preferences, users have a wide range of options for font size, color and background color. In addition to adjusting the rate of the audio, users can turn the text-to-speech on and off. Further, Read2Go supports all levels of DAISY navigation that are included in the structure of the book, navigation using VoiceOver gestures, as well as connectivity with Bluetooth-enabled braille devices.
In direct response to user inputs, a first update has been quickly released with faster search, improved memory handling, and reading in background and locked modes. Other enhancements include automatically playing books when they are opened and the ability for organizational accounts as well as individuals to transfer books, particularly large books with images, to their devices from an iTunes account. Improvements in operability with VoiceOver in this update include navigation to any section, page or bookmark and reading. Further improvements for large books and VoiceOver operability are planned.
“Benetech and our partner, Shinano Kenshi, have designed this product with significant user input throughout the process. Shinano is an excellent development partner, contributing their expertise in developing products for individuals with visual impairments, to our Benetech product design capabilities, resulting in a very accessible app,” said Betsy Beaumon, Vice President and General Manager of the Literacy Program at Benetech, the nonprofit organization that operates Bookshare. “We’ve created a new reading experience that is already changing many lives.”
“Benetech leaves no stone unturned in its quest for accessibility. We are very pleased to be working with Benetech on Read2Go and feel it will be a great benefit to all Bookshare members,” said Deana Valdez, Sales and Marketing Manager for Plextalk.
Read2Go is now available in the iTunes App store for $19.99. Existing users can install the update when prompted by their device. Apple offers approved US educational institutions volume purchases through the Apple Volume purchasing program. Interested individuals can watch a short video of Read2Go in action or get more information from the Read2Go page. For access to Bookshare books on these devices, qualified individuals will need a Bookshare membership.
About Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd., Shinano Kenshi Corporation & PLEXTALK®
Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd. is responsible for the development and manufacture of digital talking book players and other products sold under the brand name of PLEXTALK®. Shinano and PLEXTALK® assistive technology products are created to improve the quality of life, self-reliance and independence of their users. Shinano Kenshi Corporation is the North American subsidiary of Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd.
Benetech is a nonprofit technology company based in Palo Alto, California. Benetech pursues projects with a strong social rather than financial rate of return on investment, harnessing open source technology to create innovative solutions to challenging social issues. The Benetech Bookshare service is the world's largest accessible online library of copyrighted books for people with print disabilities.