We profusely thank Allison from Benetech for her wonderfully written
summarization of Jim Fruchterman's Main Menu interview held on February 26,
2008 on ACB Radio Mainstream. Her message is below:
I just finished listening to an interview of Jim fruchterman on ACB Radio.
I found it very informative. I realize that the audio format may not be
accessible to everyone, particularly deaf and blind individuals. I took
notes during the meeting, and would like to share them with others. I
believe I got down most of the important information. If you have questions
or comments, E-mail me at allisonh (at) benetech.org.
Jim fruchterman Interview.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008.
* Bookshare.org is a legal website where people can download accessible
* Jim got the idea from his son using Napster in the 90s.
* Bookshare has several formats including Daisy, BRF (Braille), HTML, and
* 90% of books on Bookshare are donated by members.
* Bookshare books are text and not human narrated.
* VR Reader Soft does not yet work with Mac computers.
* Mac users can use Win or K1000 to use Daisy books. There are also hardware
* Bookshare memberships cost $75 for the first year and $50 for each year
* There are free memberships for students paid for by the department of
* Benetech is hoping to reach 100,000 students over time.
*Most textbooks will be available to all members except for NIMAC K-12
* NIMAC stands for National Instructional Material Accessibility Center. New
laws are requiring publishers to provide NIMAC quality books for all K-12
* Bookshare is beginning to add NIMAC books to the collection. These books
are only available to K-12 students.
* Jim said that he and several people advocated for other individuals, such
as blind parents, to have access to NIMAC books, but the publishers
* If one sends a book to Bookshare, we will scan it with a turn around of
approximately 3-4 weeks.
* Benetech is working on a partnership with a major book publisher that will
allow a user who is looking for a certain book to click a link on the site,
request the book, buy it, the publisher will scan it, and send to Bookshare
where it will be ran through OCR. Approximately 6-9 months in the works.
*Most of the books on Bookshare are "trade books."
* Bookshare has literature, best sellers, and nonfiction books.
* we have a growing collection of textbooks for both college and K-12
* Several thousand new textbooks will be made available over the next couple
* One can download newspapers and magazines from Bookshare. There are
currently 150 papers available.
* Bookshare is working on developing a collection of reference books.
* The Harper Collins books are available world-wide.
* WE are currently adding books from Harper Collins to the collection. We
have so many that we aren't able to get synopses uploaded with each one.
* Bookshare does not want to hold back on publishing books before a synopsis
can be written.
* Bookshare is working on a system in which a book's synopsis can be
automatically included with a book through one providing the book's ISBN.
This is not an option yet, but in the works.
* We are working on adding book synopses. If you would like to suggest a
synopsis for a book, E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Note that synopses
from Amazon and other websites are not permitted.
* Individuals can sign up to volunteer for Bookshare by submitting or
validating books. To learn more, visit our website or E-mail
* One does not need to be disabled in order to be a volunteer.
* Jim says that this year is a year of transition as we are adding new
books, new members, and new assistive technology.
* There are two Bookshare E-mail lists that interested individuals can join.
Visit the Bookshare website or www.freelists.org to learn more.
* Jim encouraged everyone to sign up for Bookshare by visiting
This concludes my summary of the ACB Radio Jim fruchterman Interview. I
tried to record all the information, but it is possible that I have left
something out. If you have questions or comments, please contact me using
the info provided at the bottom of this message.
E-mail allisonh (at) benetech.org
The Benetech Initiative – Technology Serving Humanity – A Nonprofit