When I began the process of applying for university I retained enough vision to be able to read. This was a great plus during college as it allowed me to read through the required textbooks and complete my work easily.
I had hoped my vision would stay stable during my 3 years of university. Unfortunately it didn’t even last 3 weeks. Already I am having to totally change the way I learned and move the vast majority of my learning to audio.
This change is huge, for the past 20 years I have been used to learning through visual based means, now I am forced to rely on auditory techniques. This is a difficult transition as a new learning style at the same time I begin to study at a new level are two great challenges to run simultaneously. This isn’t even taking into account getting the textbooks into an accessible format.
If I thought obtaining textbooks digitally was difficult obtaining them in an audio format is taking it to the next level. Again thankfully my previous career in IT is really helping out and I am able to convert any book to audio once I have a digital copy. But it makes me wonder what people without a reasonable level of computer savvy do.
In this day and age of a digital society it still boggles my mind to find content is difficult to get in the format the end user actually needs. If I can do it with an iMac and some free software publishers can certainly do it.
In an effort to ease the time burden on myself I have a library assistant who can convert from paper to digital. For this I am incredibly thankful but it still means there is a delay to accessing the information I need. People blessed with vision have the option of doing to the library and pulling out and book they need and flicking through the pages. The only delay being the time to search for the book. I at best have a 3-4 day delay on accessing any information I need.
So again publishers: stop making excuses and sort it out