The Blind Readers' Page--Main Menu

ONLINE BOOKS AND MAGAZINES/E-TEXTS is a free service from R.R. Bowker that will allow direct searching on the more than 200,000 e-books and on-demand titles in Bowker's "Books in Print" database.

BadgerLink makes available to residents of Wisconsin over 6,000 magazines and journals, with back issues going back as far as ten years; over 2,000 of the magazines are in full-text, with the rest in abstract form. The service also includes 41 newspapers, most in full-text.

The National Library for the Blind (UK) has created an accessible version of the Book Forager system for choosing books based on a selection of desired qualities such as age and gender of the main character or qaulities rated on one of eleven sliding scales, such as from bleak to optimistic, romantic to realistic or easy to demanding. The site requires registration (free) and includes about 1000 braille books.

The Directory of Digitized Collections "aims to offer a listing of major digitized heritage collections and on-going digitization programmes worldwide. It is hoped that this will provide a single focal point of information on digitized collections. This site will act as the 'Memory of the World' virtual library offering direct access to those collections, where permission to link has been granted." The collections differ widely in their accessibility, but the database itself is browsable and searchable.

eBookLocator enables you to search through a database of thousands of eBooks. You can find reviews, excerpts and author bios, as well as information about availability at leading retail sites. Numerous search options are easy to use.

The CAST eText Spider allows you to search simultaneously three of the largest on-line libraries. "Obtaining Digital Materials" is an excellent brief guide to sources of text, images, sound and movies in accessible forms.

"Finding eBooks on the Internet," by Anna Dresner, "includes where to go, how to get there, what to do once you get there, and tips for browsing and downloading." Available from the National Braile Press in braille or large print ($14.00).

The International Federation of Library Associations has a brief guide to electronic journals and e-text.

AMDOCS: Documents for the Study of American History is a large collection of hundreds of primary texts in American history, from the journals of Christopher Columbus to President's Bush's speech to Congress, September 20, 2001. They texts are grouped by period.

The AccessBooks project of the Royal National Institute for the Blind delivers online books in electronic form, large print and giant print, using a proprietary DOS-based program for displaying books and periodicals. A demonstration is downloadable.

"African American Writers: Online E-texts" is a project of the Internet School Library Media Center. It assembles links to the works of several dozen writers in an accessible text-only format.

African American Women Writers of the 19th Century, by the Schomburg Center of the New York Public Library, has 52 full-text works (fiction, poetry, biography, autobiography and essays). The site is a little tricky to get into, but once you get to a particular work, there is a noframes option on a navigation bar at the bottom of the page.

The Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts: online full-text books, mainly eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English and American literature and philosophy, all in the English language.

Alexandria Digital Literature: downloadable short stories for sale.

American Literary Classics Library: several dozen full-text, downloadable American classics, including Emerson, Cather, Wharton et al., as well as a chapter-a-day feature.

The American Verse Project "is assembling an electronic archive of volumes of American poetry prior to 1920," covering more than 150 volumes of verse.

Assistive Media, which calls itself "the net's first audio-literary service for persons with print reading/access barriers," offers articles from popular magazines such as "The New Yorker" and "Wired" via RealAudio.

The B & R Samizdat Express has hundreds of titles available for purchase on diskette in basic text file format; the books range from Emily Dickinson to decisions of the United States Supreme Court. bills itself as "the preeminent Internet publisher of literature, reference and verse," and it has an outstanding collection of reference works (including the "American Heritage Dictionary" and literary texts, but the site is a nightmare of inaccessibility--unlabelled graphics, confusing table layout, unstable drop-down boxes, etc. If you are willing to fight the site, there is much valuable material there.

Berkeley Digital Library SunSite: links to many other digital text collections, with brief annotations.

The Bible Foundation has links to texts of the Bible on the Web that can be read, downloaded, searched, or even listened to, in a wide variety of translations, versions and languages.

Bibliomania includes over 150 works, including those of Conrad, Lawrence, Hardy, Austen and Joyce (yesUlyssesyes), some as text files, some as HTML.

bookdigital: large number of online texts, but many offer no indication of origin and others are actually links to other sites. sells original e-books online; offerings include computers, self-help, home businesses, fiction and more.

BookReader for Windows lets you read e-text in large fonts, with your choice of text color and font color; also allows the reader to autoscroll.

" is an online community that enables people with visual and other print disabilities to legally share scanned books. takes advantage of a special exemption in the U.S. copyright law that permits the reproduction of publications into specialized formats for the disabled." For a small fee, disabled readers have access to over 11,000 titles; books can also be purchased in embossed braille format.

Booksurge is an online bookstore for e-books, with other 5,000 titles on offer, in a variety of formats.

"Books and Stories Online" has links to many large collections of oneline texts.

The BrailleNet Virtual Library (La bibliotheque virtuelle)offers mainly texts in French, but also some in other languages; it has a searchable (but not browsable) catalog.

Camera Obscura is the best place to start your search for online books; the list there of "etext archives, electronic reading room, news, and literature" covers a wide variety of fields, from literature, law and linguistics to classics and history.

The Canadian Heritage Millennium Digital Collection "is made of 500 seminal English and French novels, poetry, speeches, historical documents, and other texts, spanning 500 years of Canadian letters." The Collection contains four different formats: digital audio synchronized to text, electronic Braille, electronic text and websites.

The Canadian Literature Archive ofers author lists, bibliographies, readings and texts, including novels by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

The Canadian Poetry Archive features selected poems from over 100 early English- and French-language Canadian poets. It is searchable and browsable.

"A Celebration of Women Writers" "provides a comprehensive listing of links to biographical and bibliographical information about women writers, and complete published books written by women." The site is highly accessible and provides browsable list of authors, centuries and countries.

The Cervantes Project is "a comprehensive reference and research site dedicated to the study of Cervantes' works and life." It includes online texts, in English and Spanish, of Cervantes' works. Some of the texts are downloadable and serachable; others are scanned images.

Classic Short Stories is a collection of about seventy works by masters of the short story (Joyce, Maupassant and others), with links to other short story sites. has an online collection of etexts currently containing 678 books and 908 short stories by 198 authors of classics.

"Classics in the History of Psychology," by Christopher D. Green of York University, collects hundreds of primary texts in the history of psychology, easily accessible from the keyboard, with browsable lists of authors and titles. A bonus is a list of more than 170 links to on-line documents related to the history of psychology posted at other sites.

"Electric Artistry Philosophy Library": about 70 texts by authors from Plato to Nietzsche, some religious and political but mainly philosophical. There is also a Poetry Gallery. The site uses frames but with a "noframes" option.

The mission of the Electronic Literature Organization is "to facilitate and promote the writing, publishing, and reading of literature in electronic media."

Fanny Crosby, blind teacher and author of more than 9,000 hymns: the New York Institute for Special Education has a fine site, charming as well as reverent, devoted to Crosby, with links to many other sources of texts by and about her.

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias:

DLSIJ Press, "the booklover's source for quality works by women authors," sells inexpensive e-texts in a variety of formats, including highly accessible text formats for visually impaired people. destination web site for disAbility information and resources (Sydney, Australia) has links to almost three dozen online journals and newsletters about disability and various disabilities., scheduled for start-up in February 2000, will offer downloadable texts from major publishers.

Electric publishes new and reprint fantasy and science fiction etexts in both MS Reader and Rocket eBook formats.

Electron Press combines book production and distribution in one package; it sells books in Adobe or Palm Pilot format.

Electronic Books in Libraries reports on news of ebooks in libraries, including practical matters like the latest players as well as more theoretical issues.

The Electronic Text Center at the University of Virginia provides access to thousands of public domain texts available to all (and many more thousands of texts available only to members of the University of Virginia scholarly community). 1,600 of the public texts are downloadable in the Microsoft Reader format.

Elibron is an online bookstore selling 45,000 ebooks in PDF, Microsoft Reader, Adobe eBook Reader, PDF for Palm and Pocket PC formats. Hundreds of titles in a variety of languages are also available as free downloads.

The Etext Archives is "home to electronic texts of all kinds, from the sacred to the profane, from the political to the personal." It's a wild melange of e-zines, poetry, politics and the unclassifiable.

The E-Zine-List by John Labovitz contains at last count 4,225 titles.

Fabula collects links to French literary studies and French literary texts online.

FamilySearch: Internet Genealogy Service puts on the web the huge genealogical resources of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The opening form is navigable from the keyboard, so it should not pose problems for screen readers either.

Ferguson Enterprises sells dictionaries, encyclopedias and other reference works on CD-ROM's that are accessible with Windows screen readers.

" is committed to providing the Internet's most comprehensive collection of fiction in the most popular eBook formats." It has recently added some nonfiction titles. The site would be useful to blind readers if the navigation images were given alt-tags. is a free online article-search service that offers articles from 300 "reputable" magazines and journals. There is a browsable list of the magazines.

The 1st Books Library has 2,000 electronic books available for download; about 30% are free; the rest are a few dollars. Available formats are text, Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Word. The site is not particularly friendly to blind users.

The F. Scott Fitzgerald Centenary Home Page has a dozen short stories and a link to other online texts by Fitzgerald.

Gallica contains more than 80,000 texts in the French language, from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century, including dictionaries, periodicals and works in text format. There are also audio files.

Gaslight is a mailing list dealing with works of mystery, adventure and The Weird written mainly 1800-1919. The list reviews one story a week and posts it (and some earlier selections) on its site. The stories are often hard to obtain outside the larger libraries and are even less likely to exist in alternative accessible formats, so there is much here that is unavailable elsewhere.

Great Literature On-line has dozens of classics in html-format, including works by Austen, Poe, Tolstoy, Twain and Whitman. It claims to add three or four new titles per week and one new author per month.

Hard Shell Word Factory sells original e-books, mostly fiction in a variety of genres. The texts are available as HTML, RTF or PDF files.

Don Mabry's Historical Text Archive organizes over 5,000 links to historical sites, covering the full range of historical topics, from war to the history of science. Not all the sites linked meet accessibility standards but the Historical Text Archive itself is easily accessible.

"The History of the Crusades", a six-volume work of more than 4,000 pages, edited by Kenneth M. Setton, is available online and is searchable and browsable.

Hogan Books offers free online editions of computer and internet books, with 800 titles available. You can download a browsable list or search the catalog online. A search on "HTML," for example, turned up eleven offerings.

ibooks publishes books simultaneously in printed form and on the internet. The site has an extensive set of links to other sources of e-books.

Indiana University's Digital Library Program and several other libraries are digitizing the works listed in Lyle Wright's 1957 bibliography "American Fiction 1851-1875." The project consists of novels, novelettes, romances, short stories, and tall tales, about 1,700 so far, with a total of 3,000 when completed.

The Internet Classics Archive (MIT) includes 441 works of classical literature by 59 different authors, mainly Greek and Roman, but also Chinese and Persian--all in English translation. The search interface for the texts themselves is easy to use.

Internet Public Library: online searchable and browsable catalogs of over 2,300 online magazines and serials; worldwide coverage of online newspapers; and over 7,700 online texts, together with a directory of other sources of online texts.

Jesuit Relations: seventy volumes of these texts essential for the history of northern North America in the seventeenth century are now available in English translation, with another in process.

The knowledgerush book directory is a list of 400 e-texts available on the web, arranged by author, subject and title. It also includes links to other on-line text directories, magazines and reference works.

Library of Congress, American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library: over 100 collections. Most texts and sound recordings are readable in HTML or audible using RealAudio, but other files are in various graphical formats inaccessible to the visually handicapped.

Libridigitali has over 190 selected websites pertaining to e-books--hardware, software, publishing, bookstores and public domain e-texts.

The Lighthouse International publishes on-line versions of five newsletters, including "EnVision" ("for parents and educators of children with impaired vision") and "Sharing Solutions" ("for people with impaired vision and their support networks"); the latter is full of practical coping tips.

The Literature, Books & Authors Resource Page collects links to books, authors, book reviews, publishers and libraries, with good coverage of other sites that collect links to e-text--a collection of collections.

Litrix Reading Room: online texts of Shakespeare, Stoker, Swift, Hardy, Conan Doyle, et al., the majority from the nineteenth century.

InformIT Online Books is a subscription service ($10.00 per month) that offers access to over 600 books on information technology.

Making of America (MOA) "is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. The collection currently contains approximately 7,000 books and 50,000 journal articles." The pages are scanned images, but text versions are available for many of the titles. Be sure to read "A Note and Some Instructions on Viewing the Plain Text of the Making of America volumes."

"The Complete Works of Christopher Marlowe: An Electronic Edition" is part of the Perseus Project. The Introduction repays careful reading; the site is accessible, though some images lack ALT-tags.

Mastertexts contains the full texts of over 200 "literary masterpieces,' including works by Austen, Twain, Dickens, Hardy and London.

Melville: The Life and Works of Herman Melville: texts of the most popular works, with links to other American literature sites.

George MacDonald: twenty titles available, including three volumes of sermons, with more titles promised, from a printer and binder who also sells print copies. (The home page itself is completely inaccessible as of June 8, 1999, so I link to the e-text page.)

Microsoft Reader software will be combined with PulseData's Braille Note personal data assistant to provide access to e-texts through speech and refreshable braille display.

The National Academy Press has about 1,400 titles available for downloading, all publications of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council.

The National Federation of the Blind makes available online some essential texts for the blind, Kenneth Jernigan's "If Blindness Comes" and the full texts of Dr. Jernigan's series of twenty-two Kernel Books.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have produced a prototype refreshable braille display that cost less than $200 in materials, opening the way to an inexpensive way for blind people to access e-books.

Many public and university libraries are subscribing to NetLibrary, a collection of thousands of titles that can be read online. The procedure is accessible to experienced screen reader users. Contact your local libary or take a look at the NetLibrary site.

"Vision Access," newsletter of the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International.

The New York Times offers a low-graphics version of its web site, called PageOnePlus.

Online Books Page: lists over 17,000 titles available online, searchable by author, title or subject; special lists of women writers, banned books and prize-winners; it is beginning to archive magazine, journals and newspapers.

Online Library of Literature: works by Wells, London, Balzac, the Brontes, Doyle, Montgomery, Carroll and others.

Online Originals: distributes book-length works for sale in digital form.

Oxford Text Archive: over 2,500 texts in over 25 different languages; allows full-text searching of all the texts.

Perseus Project (Tufts University): a digital library of resources for studying the ancient world; it includes "ancient texts and translations, philological tools, maps, extensively illustrated art catalogs, and secondary essays."

Project Gutenberg: the original and most ambitious project to put the world's literature on the Web.

"'Read 'em and Speak': Books and Reading from a Blind Perspective": many carefully chosen links to the most important archives of online books, with search tips; also includes submission forms for the most useful WWW search engines, reformatted to make them more speech-friendly; this is a site to be bookmarked!

Read to Me: after downloading a free screen reader, you can have any of 482 classics read to you. The reader will also highlight words or sentences as they are read, a feature many people with dyslexia often find useful.

Renascence Editions: Works Printed in English, 1777-1799 reprints in electronic form many of the classics of English Renaissance literature, from "Everyman" to Spenser and Shakespeare, as well as later works from Swift and Wordsworth. Illustrations are provided with ALT-tags and the HTML texts are easy to search.

Romantic Circles is a website "devoted to the study of Romantic-period literature and culture." It includes scholarly texts by the Romantics as well as online scholarship and a comprehensive list of links to other online sources of literature by the Romantics.

The Running River Reader has a very extensive set of links to recent developments in e-publishing and sources of e-texts.

Science Fiction and Fantasy World: interviews, reviews, articles, book excerpts and hundreds of full-text short stories (fantasy, science-fiction, horror, alternative history).

SETIS: Australian Electronic Texts includes more than 100 texts of early Australian memoirs, poetry, travel books and autobiography.

"Short Stories": short stories, mainly classics but also some new ones, organized by category: fiction, horror, science ficiton/fantasy,romance, crime, hyperfiction, humor and children's. The opening page has some images without ALT-tags and uses frames, but the separate index pages are browsable and more accessible.

The National Braille Press sells the Super CD ($39.00), containing over 600 complete literary works in ASCII, as well as the King James Bible, Complete Works of Shakespeare, the CIA World Fact Book 2000.

TECHighlights: newsletter of Tech Connections, an assistive technology resource center.

Textalk, a Swedish company, created TextBook, reading software for e-books; it has about fifty titles drawn from classic Swedish literature available online.

The Thoreau Home Page has information about his life and times, his contemporaries and his homes, as well as a dozen complete online texts of his writings, including "Walden."

Tocqueville, "Democracy in America": the University of Virginia's American Studies site has the complete text, plus an elaborate set of separate studies of the historical context.

The "Unbound Bible" is a collection of searchable Bibles consisting of 10 English versions including the NASB, Greek and Hebrew Versions (the original Bible languages), 4 ancient versions and 42 versions in other languages. It uses frames and has a few images without ALT-tags but the site is navigable from the keyboard.

"The Universal Library" is a set of links to other collections of online art, books, collections, journals, multimedia, music and periodicals. It uses simple browsable lists.

The University of California Press presents electronic editions of over 50 scholarly titles in the fields of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian studies; classics; literature; and European history. The texts are available free for online browsing but cannot be downloaded. To simplify browsing, look for the no-frames button at the bottom of the page.

The Victorian Women Writers Project has hundreds of texts from dozens of writers available in easily accessible text form.

Wisconsin history: "Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, ca. 1820-1910" is a collection of 138 volumes dealing with the history of the three states. It is part of the Library of Congress American Memory Project.

The Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative has started a Scanned Text Exchange Program that helps school districts reduce unnecessary labor in scanning texts by sharing the scans.

Wisconsin Electronic Reader: "Stories, essays, letters, poems, biographies, journals and tidbits from Wisconsin history--profusely illustrated" (but carefully ALT-tagged for non-graphical browsers).

xrefer offers free access to over 250,000 entries--facts, words, concepts, people and quotations from encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri and books of quotations from the world's leading publishers, including Bloomsbury and Oxford University Press.

World Wide Web Virtual Library. "The VL is the oldest catalog of the web, started by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of html and the web itself. Unlike commercial catalogs, it is run by a loose confederation of volunteers, who compile pages of key links for particular areas in which they are expert." The key links include many to online texts.

An early effort by researchers at the University of Dresden to use SGML and a special table browser to create hypertext is described by Thomas Kahlisch in "Making hypertext based study material accessible and user friendly to blind students."

Bibliofuture: Electronic Book Readers and Libraries is a site that deals with the effects of e-books on the libraries of the future.

Yahoo lists publishers selling online books and stories. "is a non-commercial repository of information related to e-book research and products. We would like to encourage the sharing and analysis of ideas surrounding e-book reading appliances to create an accurate understanding of their possibilities and limitations."

"Fulltext Sources Online," published by Information Today, Inc. is a print directory "listing over 7,000 newspapers, journals, magazines, newsletters and newswires found online in full text." It is available in larger libraries.

Besides research directed at the next generation of digital talking books for the audience of blind and physically handicapped people who cannot use standard print, there are many recent developments in the creation of commercial digital books aimed at the general public.

The Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader "enables you to read high-fidelity eBooks on your notebook or desktop computer" and has a text-to-speech feature.

The Badger Online Bookshop has several dozen Wisconsin titles on sale and downloadable for $5.00 each. offers by subscription a library of technical computer reference works online and, for purchase, downloadable e-texts of some titles.

Some efforts to create commercial e-books:

The question of the digital format of the future e-book has produced a variety of answers. Take a look at BookWorks for some of the possibilities.

eBookWeb covers news of publishing, hardware, software, legal and philosophical issues, and current listings of new e-books.

For more information on the e-book industry, a browsable directory and search facility for over 10,000 e-book titles look at

The ION eMonocle is an Open e-Book reader that enlarges print and graphics. "Installed as a downloaded application, the eMonocle Reader will offer standard features of word and phrase search with navigational controls (either keyboard or mouse commands). Page turning commands mimic the real life book turning experience; no scrolling or page manipulation is required to read text or graphics from one page to the next."

Some conferences on dealing with the future of the electronic book: "The Future of Print Media: A Virtual Symposium on the Digital Transformation of Printing and Publishing" (actually a series of symposia, with proceedings available online)

Ira Goldstein, "Observations on Reading and Publishing in the Electronic Age" is full of information about the future of the book, but uses a totally inaccessible graphical presentation.

The EBX Working Group is an ad hoc group developing a standard for electronic book exchange.

The Open eBook Initiative includes "a specification for eBook file and format structure based on HTML and XML, the languages used to format information for Web sites."

Microsoft Reader 2.0 (for e-books) has a number of features that make it accessible to blind users. Also take a look at the Accessibility Tips for the Text-to-Speech package and the Microsoft Reader Accessibility FAQ.

Microsoft would like to see its ClearType technology used on the screens of e-book displays and cooperates with the e-book producers to adopt an industry-wide standard for file formats.

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