Visiting O.W. Holmes Elementary yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting Patti Smith’s students, discussing bullying and Buddha Boy and why we won’t show just anyone our deepest thoughts; herewith are pictures taken to prove I do so know how to work my camera, you guys, when someone helps me switch it from video to still.

I came to know about Patti’s students, who are visually impaired, through Cory Doctorow’s heads-up request that downloadable YA books be sent her way, so the kids would have age-appropriate Braille material.  I also learned that many Braille textbooks are staggeringly expensive; Patti had a middle school geography textbook that might as well have been printed with gold leaf in midtown Atlantis, it’s so costly.  Check out these figures, from the Alternative Media Access Center:

The following figures are provided only to aid our customers in approximating a rough cost estimate.

Price per page of embossed Braille:

  • Literary texts $3.45
  • Math texts 6.00
  • Science texts 6.00
  • Foreign Language 5.00
  • Music 7.25
  • Computer 6.25
  • Illustration (embedded with text) 4.95
  • Embossing Only(books in NEON) 0.62

Illustrations Only: $35.68 per hour

Please note that the transcription and illustration costs include all materials, embossing, final production, and shipping (free matter for the blind).

To have to pay this much money to  have a book you can comfortably read seems quite a hurdle for readers who already have hurdles enough to surmount.