2,000 Braille books at a reduced price, a bet to continue

Despite their higher manufacturing costs, braille books will, from January 4, 2023, be accessible at the same price as classic books, a daunting challenge faced by a publishing house and printing press in Toulouse.

By Eloi Rouyer

The Center for transcription and publishing in braille (CTEB), the main braille printing press of France, created in 1989, decided to apply to its catalog more than 2,000 books “the single book price (Lang law of 1981) from which the classic edition benefited”. “This is a decisive step”, welcomed its vice-president, Jean Frontin, in a ceremony marking the event. “This will allow braille readers to read all the books at the price that all the Mr. and Mrs. are buying in bookstores”, he said.

From 60 euros to 11 euros

Essays by Pierre Rosanvallon or Boris Cyrulnik, by Cher connard, the latest title of Virginie Despentes, the latest literary prizes or the Harry Potter saga, all the books in the CTEB catalog are now available at prices between of 11 and 30 euros while you were before. have to pay between 60 and 122 euros. “This is a breach created in the great wall of inequality, it is a small door that opens and now we have to rush, we have to continue the momentum that was given here in Toulouse” , wished Vincent Michel, honorary president of the federation of the blind, himself a writer and good reader.

“Personal access to the world of knowledge”

Blind from birth, he remembers “difficult” access to books, especially during study, when one has to rely “about friends, about family, about the recorded book”. “I listened to thousands of kilometers of magnetic tape read by people who were willing to read it to us”, he said toAFP. Direct reading in Braille offers the advantage of greater autonomy for people, personal access to the world of knowledge and culture. By lowering the price of Braille books, CTEB facilitates this access but “it’s a bold bet”, The director of the center, Adeline Coursant, was not kept in the AFP, because her institution only has the capacity to finance this price change for one or even two years. “We need to quickly find help to continue”, did he say

Economic risk taking to combat inequality

“We took this risk to balance our economic model in order to provide equal opportunities to the blind because it is clear that it is a fundamental inequality in society that they cannot have access to books like others “, underlined Ms. Courser. The cost of producing a Braille book – around 700 euros, according to the CTEB – is higher than standard books because it requires transcription done by specialists, special machines and specifically, thicker paper. . The association intends at this time to fund its new pricing policy “own funds”, by using its reserves as well as the income from its other activities: creating Braille magazines for communities, tourist guides, menus for restaurants, etc. The profits it gets from producing account statements in Braille for 90% of banking establishments in France so they can provide them to their visually impaired customers will also be used.

Raise the price of all books by 10 cents?

But, said Ms. Coursant, there will be a “another very simple solution to finance all that: increase for example the price of books sold in bookstores by 10 cents”. “If we take the annual national sales (of books), this increase will cover all the needs of the interconnected world of adapted publishing”, he said, adding that “That would be the perfect solution.” According to figures provided by the federation of the blind of France, between 1.7 and 2 million people are visually impaired in metropolitan France. Of those, about 15%, or between 255,000 and 300,000 people, read Braille, he estimated.

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