Google books are now providing plain text versions of out of copyright books. This is a great bonus for those who use a screen reader. So you can search for favourites or perhaps ones that you hadn’t read before like Villette by Charlotte Bronte. These books had been previously available as a PDF file but these are notoriously difficult for screen readers to cope with. However, I think they have been scanned in as there are some glaring errors – the first line of Wuthering heights for example is ‘I Hate just returned from a visit to my landlord’ when of course it should have been ‘Have just returned’. Oh well it is a step in the right direction.

This is a step forward for the RNIB’s Right to Read campaign. 96% of all books are not available in large print, audio or braille and this campaign aims to highlight this, as 3 million people in the UK are unable to access books as they have a sight problem, dyslexia or other disabilities which mean they cannot read in the conventional way. So having these books available digitally means they are accessible to all. If you aren’t aware of the Right to Read campaign check out the RNIB website.

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