University of British Columbia Press Becomes First Canadian Publisher to Partner with Bookshare - Grants World Rights to Entire Collection

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The University of British Columbia Press (UBC Press), one of the largest university presses in Canada, has entered into an agreement with Bookshare® granting world rights to its collection. UBC Press offers a unique perspective through the generation and transfer of knowledge across many subject areas.

The generous support of a prestigious Canadian university press builds the collection for Canadian readers with print disabilities, as well as those around the world.

The University of British Columbia Press (UBC Press), one of the largest university presses in Canada, has entered into an agreement with Bookshare® granting world rights to its collection. UBC Press offers a unique perspective through the generation and transfer of knowledge across many subject areas.

UBC Press is a leading publisher of books in political science, Aboriginal studies and law for postsecondary educational, professional and scholarly audiences. Other areas of particular strength in the collection include titles in Asian studies, history, environmental studies, health policy and sexuality studies. UBC Press currently has 1,000 titles in print and publishes 65 new books annually which will add significant value to the Bookshare international collection for Canadian members.

“University presses perform services that are of inestimable value to the academic community—researchers, teachers, librarians, and importantly, students,” said Betsy Beaumon, Vice President and General Manager of the Literacy Program at Benetech, the nonprofit organization that operates Bookshare. “The generous support of a prestigious Canadian university press builds the collection for Canadian readers with print disabilities, as well as those around the world. Right now, the total number of books available in Canada has grown to over 22,000 thanks to the contributions of all publishers who have granted world rights.”

“Bookshare is revolutionizing accessibility, quantity and usability of books for people who have print disabilities and, in the process is greatly facilitating access to copyrighted works. Before Bookshare, publishers were required to respond to each individual request and provide accessible files to institutions one by one. Now we provide files once and Bookshare makes them available to every qualified institution,” said Peter Milroy, Director of UBC Press. “We are proud to be the first Canadian publisher to provide access of our collection to Bookshare members and we hope that our actions encourage other Canadian publishers to follow suit.”

UBC Press will launch its contributions to Bookshare with the book, Veterans with a Vision: Canada’s War Blinded in Peace and War, published in conjunction with the Canadian War Museum, The Sir Arthur Pearson Association, and the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind). It fills an important gap in Canadian military history as veterans with disabilities have often been neglected figures in the history of war. This book reminds us all of their invaluable contributions.

UBC Press will also provide Critical Disability Theory: Essays in Philosophy, Politics, Policy, and Law, Dianne Pothier and Richard Devlin (eds.), in their first contributions to Bookshare. The essays in Critical Disability Theory contend that we need to think differently about the nature of disability, a new understanding of participatory citizenship that encompasses the disabled, new policies to respond to their needs and a new vision of their entitlements.

Bookshare serves a community of individuals with qualified print disabilities, such as visual impairments, physical disabilities or severe learning disabilities that affect reading. Proof of disability is required for membership. The library offers K-12 textbooks, postsecondary textbooks, teacher-recommended reading, literature, children’s books, reference works, and newspapers and magazines. Members can download books in the latest DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) and BRF (Braille Ready Format) file formats.

For access to the collection, qualified individuals of all ages are welcome to sign up for an individual membership. Organizations, including educational institutions, serving qualified individuals are welcome to sign up for an organizational membership.

Publishers interested in contributing digital files to Bookshare to provide timely access for individuals with print disabilities should contact Robin Seaman Publisher Liaison. For a list of publishing partners, please visit the Bookshare website.    

About UBC Press

The University of British Columbia Press is Canada’s leading social sciences publisher. Better known by its imprint, UBC Press, than its formal name, it is the largest scholarly press in western Canada. Its books in political science, Aboriginal studies, law, environmental studies, history and Asian studies consistently win awards in their fields. Since its establishment in 1971, it has published over 1,000 titles and it currently publishes 60 to 65 titles annually.

About Bookshare

Bookshare is the world’s largest online accessible library of copyrighted content for people with print disabilities. Through its technology initiatives and partnerships, Bookshare seeks to raise the floor on accessibility issues so that individuals with print disabilities have the same ease of access to print materials as people without disabilities. In 2007, Bookshare received a five-year award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), to provide free access for all U.S. students with a qualified print disability. The Bookshare library now has over 90,000 books and serves more than 100,000 members. Bookshare is an initiative of Benetech, a Palo Alto, CA-based nonprofit which creates sustainable technology to solve pressing social needs.

The content of this press release was developed under a cooperative agreement, H327K070001, with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

Copyright © 2010 Benetech. All rights reserved. Bookshare is a Benetech initiative.

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