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Old 07-23-2018, 04:46 PM   #1
Theebookeater
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Book Scanning Services for the Blind

I apologize if this is in the wrong place. I have a vision impaired, elderly acquaintance who is caring for her blind/ill daughter. They have access to bard/bookshare.

For books not available there, she tries to contact the copyright holder. If they respond, it's often negative. A few authors (and one small magazine publisher) were hostile about ever 'allowing their book in THAT format' listing really stupid excuses. Their librarian mentioned legally scanning old books for personal use.

Her question:

"There are a few books my daughter had before she lost her sight that I want to have scanned for a birthday or Christmas gift. I would love to be able to do it myself but after eight decades, I don't easily learn new tricks. We use voice dream on an ipod touch and tts for kindle.

What company or method could I use to make electronic books for a) books that are fairly cheap and expendable and b) books that are difficult/expensive to find due to small printing or age. Thank you very much."
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Old 07-23-2018, 05:20 PM   #2
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If you don't care whether you get the book back, you can have books scanned at 1dollarscan.com. You will then download a pdf file of your book to your computer. Then get ABBYY Transformer (about $40) to convert that scan from pdf to epub. From there you can use Calibre to convert to AZW* or mobi if you want.

I am vision impaired myself and can no longer read novels (even cookbooks have now become very difficult). I only do this IF the book is not already available in ebook form and they are typically older books. You can have things sent directly from Amazon to their shop in CA. I've had them scan some magazines as well, but unless it's a literary magazine, those don't translate to epub very well: all those columns and ads.

You don't need permission of the author to have your personal book scanned. I've been VERY happy with the service at 1dollarscan. I think out of the many dozens of books I have sent in, I've had 2 redone (one was missing half a page, another had bleed through from the other side of the page and one was scanned rather lightly).

FWIW, ABBYY Finereader is a more robust program if you plan to do a lot of books or if you have specialized text. Look online for it to compare the two programs.

If you only plan to do a couple of books, let me know by private email and I might be able to help you do the conversion from pdf to epub.

Last edited by Tarana; 07-23-2018 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 07-23-2018, 06:57 PM   #3
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There is some controversy over the site, but Open Library has a large collection of books that have been scanned and converted to Daisy format for the vision impaired. Many of their books are not available elsewhere. Quality varies. They are part of the Internet Archive project.
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Old 07-23-2018, 07:46 PM   #4
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I'm pretty sure here in the U.S. we have laws that any book can made accessible for blind/visual impaired.

I have a few ladies in my bookclub that are blind/visual impaired. If you like I can ask them for more resources. How they find books, what software/hardware they use. They are avid readers and would know where to go.

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Old 07-25-2018, 08:39 PM   #5
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I went ahead and asked the ladies at my book club yesterday most mentioned BookShare and BARD but there was a few things I've never heard of that perhaps can help your friend's daughter read. I put them in spoiler tags. I hope this helps even though it doesn't answer about book scanning for that I would use 1dollarscan as Tarana suggested.

Spoiler:
From the helpful ladies:

Resources for Visually Impaired/Blind

National Library of Congress
https://www.loc.gov/nls/
http://www.afb.org/info/reading-and-...g-books-933/35

Screen Readers Info
http://www.afb.org/prodBrowseCatResults.aspx?CatID=49
This is info on software\Hardware that can read computer screens

KNFL Reader APP (Not Free)
https://knfbreader.com/
The easy-to-use KNFB Reader app converts any text to speech or Braille instantly and accurately. (Recommended by one of the ladies father who is visually impaired)


Visual Aids by HumanWare
http://www.humanware.com/en-usa/prod...compact_models
Comment from Lady:
Rehab counselor can hook her up with victor stream (not a free item but a good rehab counselor should be able to get it for her)
Library for the blind has a device also and a large selection of books. (Free just need a doctor to state she is blind or visually impaired)
My father is blind and was a counselor.

A local NFB would be helpful in finding help also. They often have companies that will show screen readers and magnifying devices.


Reader Pen Scanner
http://www.readerpen.com/
A Pen that scans words on a page and reads them to you.
(This is pretty amazing actually. Recommended by someone who uses it)
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Old 07-26-2018, 03:07 PM   #6
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I captured the spoiler for a new wiki page Resources for visually impaired.

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Old 07-26-2018, 05:44 PM   #7
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I captured the spoiler for a new wiki page Resources for visually impaired.

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Great idea! Please feel free to correct any grammar mistakes.
Most of my blind friends use this resource but since her friend's daughter already has it I didn't list it in the spoiler.

Bookshare: An Accessible Online Library for people with print disabilities
https://www.bookshare.org/
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Old 07-30-2018, 01:34 PM   #8
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Wouldn't be better to use https://nlsbard.loc.gov/login for BARD rather than the National Library Service URL: https://www.loc.gov/nls/ ?

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Old 07-30-2018, 01:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theebookeater View Post
What company or method could I use to make electronic books for a) books that are fairly cheap and expendable and b) books that are difficult/expensive to find due to small printing or age. Thank you very much."
If you have a desktop running Windows, then OPEN-Book and PEARL might be a viable solution. This is a non-destructive scanning system.

Downside is that that program and hardware combination is US$1,300 for English using the Latin Writing System. Other languages and writing systems are proportionately more expensive.

Upside is that it can convert most typefaces in printed documents, to a digital text format.
It won't read text on round surfaces. EG: Prescriptions in pill bottles from your pharmacy.
If one has the patience to work all the way around a big box, it will read everything on the box - useful for unexpected packages being left at your front door, that turn out to be for a person who lives ten blocks away.
It does read printed text on Christmas cards, Birthday cards, and the like. It correctly identifies some printscript copybooks, and handwritten block letters.
Both italic and cursive handwriting is illegible for this device.
Maps, especially topographic maps do confuse it.

I wouldn't recommend it, if all you do, is scan one or two books.
I would recommend it, if the individual wants to live independently, reading their own mail, manuals for appliances they have, notes from their healthcare provider, church bulletins, etc.

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Old 07-30-2018, 03:46 PM   #10
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Wouldn't be better to use https://nlsbard.loc.gov/login for BARD rather than the National Library Service URL: https://www.loc.gov/nls/ ?

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I don't think that's a good idea because that page is just a log in page for BARD, it does not have much information about the program. The main URL is best in this case so a potential user can read up on everything needed and there is a link to the BARD log in page on the side menu.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:00 AM   #11
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If you don't care whether you get the book back, you can have books scanned at 1dollarscan.com. (...)
I've used them, but I've been even happier with bookscan.us - they have lower fees, and they offer b/w scans that give you much smaller files and work at least as well with Abbyy as 1dollarscan's color scans do.

(Disclaimer: my experiences with both are more than 2 years old, maybe things have changed.)
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:56 AM   #12
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However you get the scans - 1dollarscan, bookscan, your own scanner - it requires serious work to edit out all the various OCR errors (which, in nature and quantity, depend on font, print and paper quality, layout etc. as much as on scan quality). For a blind reader who listens to a voice synthesizer, some OCR errors can be more distracting and difficult to deal with than for a sighted reader, who, from the visual appearance of the misspelled word, can more easily guess its true meaning (the and die, comer and corner, etc. etc.), or can more easily skip it.

Of course, in most cases a blind reader will prefer a file with OCR errors to not having the book at all, but if you want to keep the number of errors reasonably low, you'll probably have to proofread. (And, in the process, you'll sometimes discover errors that have already been in the printed book ...)
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Old 08-11-2018, 01:56 AM   #13
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I've used them, but I've been even happier with bookscan.us - they have lower fees, and they offer b/w scans that give you much smaller files and work at least as well with Abbyy as 1dollarscan's color scans do.

(Disclaimer: my experiences with both are more than 2 years old, maybe things have changed.)
You can scan any say book scan pdf from sites like 1dollarscan in B/W in Abbyy. I have done this. What I do is import the pdf into Abbyy as B/W then export the images to a folder. They will be in literally two colors black and white images not greyscale. I then go through each image in a Windows Picture Viewer looking for imperfections. If I find any I open it up in Photoshop and edit them out and save the images. Once I'm satisfied with the images, I Import them into Abbyy and then have it analyze and read the images to OCR Text. I find this really helps elimate many scan errors then you just have to decide how important little mispellings are to you. I don't do much editing after that just save to html other than formatting and broken sentences, missing punctuation that I use a separate program to fix those.

In the case of using text to speech or a screen reader I agree, you will need to do some serious editing to ensure the story makes sense.

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Old 08-11-2018, 05:31 AM   #14
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(...) They will be in literally two colors black and white images not greyscale. (...)
Yes, sorry, should have said "b/w scans instead of 1dollarscan's gray scale scans", not color scans. Interesting idea, to edit the images before doing the OCR, hadn't thought of that.
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:24 AM   #15
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FWIW, the OCR errors are much less than they were even 2 years ago due to improvements at both 1dollarscan and ABBYY. I use Calibre's editor to do all the word fixes - there's about 10 that are common in most scans. I should make a list, but comer instead of corner comes to mind.
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