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Benetech Bookshare

Giving people around the world new opportunities for learning and literacy.
Benetech Bookshare on several devices

Client Overview

An estimated 1.3 billion people live with some form of distance or near vision impairment across the globe. That’s a staggering number that doesn’t even begin to include the 700 million people with dyslexia, 10 million with Parkinson’s disease, or the many other disabilities that make reading printed text difficult or impossible. Without access to books in accessible formats, print disabilities can create an insurmountable barrier to information that can limit the potential of billions of people of all ages across the globe. 

Benetech Bookshare is helping address this issue by making more than 900,000 titles available in accessible online formats through its Bookshare project. With features that include searchable text, synchronized text and audio, highlighting, and customizable font size and contrast, 

Bookshare gives people with barriers to reading new opportunities for learning and literacy. And thanks to a recent partnership with Kanopi Studios, Bookshare can quickly expand to serve developing nations in any language.

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The Challenge

Make reading easier around the world.

Benetech’s goal is to quickly create Bookshare sites to serve every nation across the globe. To do that, they needed to expand their ability to translate the site into new languages as fast and thoroughly as possible.

The Process


Working with provided wireframes and designs, Kanopi Studios worked closely with the Benetech Bookshare team and their designer to help turn their creative concept into reality.

Kanopi developed a system that not only delivered the vision outlined in the designs, we also provided a series of site launches with each country.

Staff Augmentation

We iteratively went through improvements as new features became available, bolstering the Benetech Bookshare team to build the site’s API portions. With our agile approach and niche skillset, we anticipated Benetech’s needs as the project shifted and accelerated.

The Solution

Kanopi partnered with Benetech to establish a rapid and repeatable process to translate the organization’s Bookshare websites into any language, making thousands of books accessible for people with visual impairment or other print disabilities worldwide. The Benetech Bookshare team built the API, working with the Kanopi team to build out the websites.

Using Drupal 8, Kanopi’s development team provided front and back-end development. We partnered with LingoTek for translation functionality and implemented the wireframes and designs supplied by Benetech.

A Kanopi team member’s young daughter with dyslexia tested the site’s design, offering feedback on fonts and text sizes that were difficult to read. She joined a group of print disabled users on the Benetech Bookshare team to ensure that the site upheld AAA accessibility standards, the highest level of accessibility for the web.

Kanopi created a fully-functional Bookshare website in less than two hours and complete translation within two weeks. Before the project, similar work would have taken more than two months.

In addition to planning and building the framework, the Kanopi team supported translation and deployment of new sites for 9 countries, including:

  • Bolivia
  • India
  • Kenya
  • Lithuania
  • Malawi
  • Nepal
  • Peru
  • South Africa
  • and Tanzania

to be translated into 10 languages:

  • English
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Swahili
  • Hindi
  • Lithuanian
  • Marathi
  • Nepali
  • Tamil
  • and Telugu

Key Features

Bookshare Search and Download

Search & Download

Integration with the Bookshare API allows users to download from a library of over 900,000 books.

Testimonials from Bookshare users

Made For All

The site’s focus on accessibility allows users who are differently-abled to browse and download books in various formats, including ebook and audio.

List of languages available

Sustainable, Reusable Platform

We continually add new countries, a process that is commonly completed in a day’s work.

The Result

Several sites are now live, including the United Arab Emirates and a site for the National Council for the Blind (NCBI) in Ireland. Both are examples of how each organization was able to tailor Bookshare to their needs and audiences.

With near-future plans to translate the site into more than 100 languages, there is incredible potential for Kanopi Studios to support Benetech’s goal of offering Bookshare in every nation across the globe.

We’re incredibly proud of this work with Benetech Bookshare to unlock the power of reading, allowing people of all abilities access to printed materials that can expand their success in school, their ability to find jobs, and their pure enjoyment of everyday life.

Client Since
Main Site Compliance

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