Posted on December 15th, 2011
Around the time Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out, I was beside myself with excitement. In an eager rush to learn all I could about the upcoming release (avoiding spoilers of course), I came across an article excitedly announcing that the Braille version of the new book would be available a mere three days after its release. The process was already underway, and the three weeks of work would eventually culminate, bringing joy to blind readers everywhere.
While I’m not blind, I’m certainly a Harry Potter fan, and three days after the release just wouldn’t be good enough for me. As luck would have it, blind readers, or readers with any sort of disability, no longer need to wait three weeks, or even three days to receive the works they want. Allow me to introduce a company called ReadHowYouWant.com, a privately held Australian company whose good nature and positive ideas will soon be (and in some places, already is) benefiting disabled readers around the world. ReadHowYouWant.com exists for the benefit of readers and publishers alike. They offer an array of services that includes regular printing, large font printing, Braille, e-books, audio books, and everything in between.
And I do mean everything. You can contact ReadHowYouWant.com to print your book like you would have any other printer do it. You can also have them print in an array of large-print editions. Their four most basic large editions are EasyRead, EasyRead Comfort, Easy Read Large, and Easy Read Large Bold. They already have thousands of titles available in these four formats, all designed to benefit readers with poor vision, who require bigger and/or darker fonts, and all already available at Amazon.com.
But I did say everything in between, and I wasn’t lying. For new readers, or struggling readers, they offer a print in which every second word is bold. This is a technique known as word pattern, and it helps reduce word swapping while reading and helps with tracking the words in a line. They also offer a format they call character pattern in which the size of the letters in the word increases as the word continues. For example: example.
The benefit of this is also patterning, but it keeps the words flowing in the same direction, and helps the reader (perhaps if the reader is dyslexic) not mix up letters within the word. Still another format offered is called character discrimination pattern, and this helps readers discriminate between “mirrored” letters (such as d, b, p and q) by assigning a different font to each. Of course, they can’t predict everything, so ReadHowYouWant.com also offers custom prints and fonts to fit any need you can think of (including making books out of chapters, or breaking books into parts). No matter what format you choose to print, they do not simply enlarge the book. When ReadHowYouWant.com handles your work, they completely revamp the book so that there are little to no end of line hyphens, and they repaginate the entire book and redo the indexes and tables of contents so that they match the new pages.
Another printed format that ReadHowYouWant.com offers that I mentioned earlier is Braille. While it is hard to differentiate from standard Braille, what ReadHowYouWant.com can offer is fast production. The have an automated Braille system that allows for the creation of a book in Braille in one-to-two days.
ReadHowYouWant.com even takes into consideration naysayers who claim that “books are on the way out and technology will prevail, rendering the printed word useless!” While I’m sure none of us can agree with them, ReadHowYouWant.com answers back, offering audio books in MP3 and DAISY formats. Using a lot of technology that will make your head spin, they manage a product that will put a smile on your face. Their DAISY formats allow you to choose an automated voice or a synthesized voice (in which accent, gender, pitch, speed and index navigation are all available for you to choose). While keeping with the idea of computerized books, ReadHowYouWant.com can also create an e-book that is track-able, searchable, bookmark-able and more than just a pdf file.
Let’s not for one second pretend that we’re not impressed. I’ve broken a sweat just describing what ReadHowYouWant.com can offer. Of course, as publishers this is all very enticing because of what can now be achieved with your books. But its difficult to see a list of great services and not expect some sort of catch. Or perhaps its too-good-to-be-true and these people must be a bunch of jerks. But trust me, I’ve looked for jerks, and I’ve searched for a catch, and I’ve come up empty handed. Its impossible to jump into a service for the first time and not have some questions, so allow me to try and answer some of them for you, to save you some time, so you can begin to get in on the printing fun.
Many people I’m sure are saying, “I’d really love to have a book printed in character pattern format, but an entire run of that probably wouldn’t sell and would sit in my warehouse collecting dust.” To that, I say “maybe,” but I’m a positive thinker. For those more business savvy than I am however, ReadHowYouWant.com offers their service on a print on demand basis, allowing you to save that spot in your warehouse for your next novelty book on pirates.
Print on demand is of course a wonderful thing because it avoids the need to buy a big run of a book. But say you don’t particularly favor any of ReadHowYouWant.com’s printed finished products. That’s certainly ok with them, because they want you to be happy. ReadHowYouWant.com can either print the book for you, or give you the electronic file to be printed however, and by whomever, you want.
Obviously, printing in several formats opens your company up to markets that were previously untouched, but its understandably difficult to advertise such things if you don’t have thousands of copies printed and in bookstores. (By this time, you know ReadHowYouWant.com has something, don’t you?) Well, ReadHowYouWant.com has something to help you with that too (you’re so smart). ReadHowYouWant.com offers many outlets for your books to be advertised and sold, with the orders going directly to them so they can be printed. They sell books on sites like Amazon, Ebay, Moby, Lightning Source, and of course on their own website. They can also host a website for your company so you have one to sell on too.
Clearly when concerning intellectual property, things don’t always work out cut and dry. Rights battles and contracts oftentimes make it a trite experience, and the whole thing ends up in the bag. When dealing with ReadHowYouWant.com, there are no agents involved: You own the intellectual property, they own the format. They will work with you to create a deal that is simple and works for both parties.
Finally: The bottom line. In all businesses, the idea is to benefit the company monetarily. The open market that ReadHowYouWant.com provides opens you up to more sales. Their printing capabilities save you money because they don’t require you to print big runs. Their forms of advertising and promotion, as well as their connections with big selling websites give you more opportunities to sell. They can sell your books for you and give you a cut, or they can give you the books to sell on your own to get money in hand.
Because their services are customizable, and projects will inherently vary in length, prices are determined on a by-project basis. However, everybody’s first project with ReadHowYouWant.com receives 30% off, and mentioning that you discovered them from the Combined Book Exhibit will grant you 20% off of future projects!
With ReadHowYouWant.com, it seems like nobody loses and everyone wins—especially the reader. To get in on all of the benefits, visit (here’s a surprise) www.ReadHowYouWant.com, or contact the North American sales and marketing representative Rosanne Goodwin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (925) 309-4431.