An end to “book famine” for Essex’s blind and partially sighted residents could be on the cards. Essex MEP Alex Mayer met members of the Saffron Walden charity Support 4 Sight on ahead of a key vote in the European Parliament to change copyright rules, so books can be put into accessible formats - including braille, audio-books or large print - without any obstacles.
Ms Mayer will meet Garry Hyams, Chief Executive of Support 4 Sight who will explain that just 7% of published books are currently made accessible. This means Essex’s 47,000 blind and visually impaired residents have little choice when it comes to reading the latest Thriller, Romance or ‘Who Dunnit?’.
Rapidly developing technology such as e-books mean is it becoming cheaper and easier to make more books accessible. This digital revolution ought to allow more accessible books to be shared worldwide. However, copyright law has not kept pace with the technology which is why the rules need to be changed to allow more accessible books to be made and shared across national borders.
Ms. Mayer said: “Settling down with a good book is something many of us take for granted. So let’s sort out the copyright issues to ensure more people can enjoy a good read.”