Braille books for the first time are accessible at the same bookstore price

More than 40 years after the institution of a single book price, about 2000 books in Braille are accessible since Wednesday at the price of a classic book. Despite their higher manufacturing costs, the risky challenge was taken up by a publishing and printing house in Toulouse.

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

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 11 and 30 euros whereas before you had 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” , wanted Vincent Michel, honorary president of federation of the blind, himself a writer and a good reader.

“The advantage of greater autonomy”

Blind from birth, he remembers the “convenience” of accessing books, especially during his studies, when he had to rely “on friends, on family, on recorded books”. “I listened to thousands of kilometers of magnetic tape being read by people who were willing to read it to us,” he told AFP. 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 books in Braille, the CTEB facilitates this access but “it is a bold bet”, the director of the center, Adeline Coursant, does not hide from AFP, because her institution is no capacity to finance it. just for one or even two years. “We need to quickly find help to continue,” he said.

A Braille book requires transcription work done by specialists, specific machines and specific paper. AFP/Lionel BONAVENTURE. AFP or licensors

“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 the director of the center.

The cost of producing a Braille book – around 700 euros, according to the CTEB – is higher than standard books because it requires transcription work done by specialists, special machines and in particular, thicker paper. .

Raising the price of books by 10 cents would provide a permanent solution

For now, the association intends to finance its new pricing policy from “own funds”, using its reserves as well as income from its other activities: creation of 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.

But, points out Adeline Coursant, there will be “another very simple solution to finance all that: it is to 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 assured, adding that “this will 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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