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Books Can Talk at Book*Scan*Talk

Facts &
Frequently Asked Questions



* Low cost * Quick service * Quality product  *

Facts  |  Can Do  |  Can't Do  |  Must Do

Nine out of Ten students prefer Electronic Text Conversion over Books on Tape

Basic Facts:


The average human reads aloud at the rate of 130 words per minute.  The average human eye reads at well over 200 words per minute.  Thus, text to audio conversion on audio tape is a slow and cumbersome process, even for the most proficient human reader.  The listener can hear the text only slightly faster than the reader can read it.  Most new academic books are not available on tape, forcing the college or program to find a reader to read the book aloud onto tape recorders. Yet, this is typically not the most effective use of program funds nor is it always the best option for the student's needs.

Books on tape are becoming outdated for the following reasons:
  • No easy way to skip or skim over unneeded text
  • To rehear or refind information on tape, rewinding is slow and in-exact, slowing down the listener's study process
  • Sometimes, the tape-player eats the tapes or distorts the sound
  • Not all human readers are proficient at reading aloud
  • Books on tape are space hogs. A 500-page book (with 480,000 words) requires nearly forty (40) 90-minute tapes or thirty (30) 120-minute tapes. 
  • Most readers will skip important information, like the table of contents, glossaries and indices to save on time and expense.
  • Readers can only record (on average) 500 pages of text in 50 to 60 hours.
  • Most human readers only record two to four hours per day, taking several weeks to complete the book due to the enormous amount of strain that reading aloud puts on the vocal cords.
  • At $8.25/hr, the human reader cost to record a 500-page textbook onto audio tape is $472.50 (including cost of the tapes).  Most professional readers' pay scales are considerably higher.

What Can Book*Scan*Talk do?

  • Provides several affordable ADA reading options in specialized format for colleges with print-challenged students.
  • 500 page text conversion to audio CD = $275.00 (complete book @ $0.55/page)
  • 500 page text conversion to electronic text = $225.00 (complete book @ $0.45/page)
  • Scan most books (in the English language) and convert them into electronic text for students to hear the text read aloud with a text-to-speech engine or screen reader on their computers or in audio format on their CD players.
  • Return your textbook along with the electronic/digital text to the college/school within seven to ten business days. (Timeline is based on the average 500 page book, plus mailing.)
  • Option 1: Audio CD. Instead of dealing with 5-15 audio tapes per book, the entire book is audio recorded on 1 - 2 CDs. 
  • Option 2: Electronic text can be returned on a data CD in DOC (Word 6.x), PDF, or RTF for use with text-to-speech programs on a data CD.  Digital (electronic) text can also be emailed to the college campus for use immediately.
  • If the student needs the text immediately, Book*Scan*Talk can deliver the first two chapters of e-text to the campus within 48 hours (after we receive the book).
  • Convert the textbook into audio CD at approximately ½ the average cost and ½  the time it takes to record an audio tape prepared by a trained reader. E-text conversion is the quickest, most affordable option.
  • The scanned text is proofed by trained professionals to reduce reader errors during conversion.
  • We act as your text conversion agent by converting only the books that you need in specialized format for disabled students upon your request and pursuant to copyright laws as outlined in the United States Code Title 17 Chapter 1 Section 121.

What Can't Book*Scan*Talk do?

  • No textbooks in foreign languages or books with technical symbols, like math, chemistry, computer programming, etc. Standard text-to-speech programs do not recognize foreign, technical or specialized languages.
  • No used books with torn pages, highlighting of text, or handwritten notes on the pages. The text must be clean, typed, and legible.
  • No textbooks with mostly photographs, charts or graphs.  The scanner program can recreate the image, but cannot describe the image to the listener.
  • Cannot retain copies of the scanned materials or create a database of textbooks in specialized format. We are different from LearningAlly in the services we offer.  We choose not to compete with LearningAlly, but instead we complement their program by quickly and economically filling the gap of unavailable academic books through LearningAlly. It is recommended that you check with LearningAlly first to check their library for the book you need. If the book is not available, we are you next best option.
  • Cannot convert textbooks for any non-profit institutions located outside of the United States, any profit-based organization or private individuals.

What is the difference between Text-to-Speech and Audio CDs?

  • Text-to-Speech is an assistive technology that can convert most text format documents on the computer into audible words.  In most cases a variety of TTS (Text-to-Speech) engines can be installed on the computer PC or MAC.  The student would need access to a computer on a regular basis for study purposes. Some TTS resources are located on the Book*Scan*Talk home page.
  • Audio CD's are created by utilizing a Speech synthesizer to create audio files saved on the CD similar to a music CD and can be listened to either on a standard CD player, Victor Daisy Reader or on the computer using a Media Player.

What Book*Scan*Talk must do to accomplish text conversion.

We must alter the book --  We cut off the bookbinding to separate all the pages for quick and efficient scanning/conversion. The textbook can be rebound with spiral-binding for a nominal charge, or the graphics department of your school campus may be able to spiral the book for you.  The book remains functional and readable.

We require confirmation that the book is owned by the college, the program, or the student, and that the user of the converted text will not share, sell, or pass along his/her electronic or digital version of the textbook with others.  This is a requirement for copyright usage.  The purpose of Book*Scan*Talk is to convert academic textbooks and materials for higher education institutions in alternative format for ADA compliance within the academic and copyright rules.

More Information about Book*Scan*Talk

Book*Scan*Talk, LLC, is a family-owned business. Dennis manages the business, while Jann scans and transforms the text. Dennis earned his bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Oregon State University. Jann earned her master's degree in Education after earning her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Reed College. Jann was also a paralegal for over 15 years. Our goal is to provide a low-cost service while maintaining quality and attention to detail in the text conversion. The print-challenged student of your institution deserves to have access to all the text materials contained in the book s/he has purchased for her/his class.


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