Tuesday, November 2, 2010

DAISYtoEPUB to Kindle 3

In a previous post I shared my experiences using the Kindle 3 which to date is probably the best selling eReader in the marketplace. I'm sure that the Kindle 3 will be on top of the list for gifts this holiday season with nearly every big box store carrying it. One of the reasons why I had decided to buy the Kindle 3 was that it was the only dedicated eReader that has built in text to speech. Working with a lot of students with reading disabilities I wanted to see how the Kindle could be used by them, to access their books with text to speech support. While a lot of the publishers at their discretion can turn off the text to speech component it is still exciting to think of all the ways students can access text using this device. Now imagine the ramifications of your students who have access to Bookshare being able to read their NIMAS books on their favorite eReader the Kindle. Well it is now possible and let me share with you how you can do this.

Just this week Don Johnston released a new application for the Mac and Windows called  DAISYtoEPUB that can convert DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System), NIMAS and Bookshare files to the popular ePub format.The ePub format is the most popular format for ebooks and is supported natively on the iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone, NOOK, and Sony Readers. If you are using the iPad, once the file is converted you can turn on VoiceOver and have the the book read aloud with the text to speech.

DAISYtoEPUB is extremely easy to use and within seconds the file is quickly converted. Once you have used DAISYtoEPUB to convert the file getting the books onto the various aforementioned devices is quite straightforward. This is not the case if you are using the Kindle. While the Kindle supports a number of different eBook formats, unfortunately it does not support ePub. However, not all is lost in the conversion. You see, using the free application Calibre, you can bring the ePub book into the Calibre library and convert it to the Mobi format which is in fact supported by the Kindle. Using Calibre you simply drag the ePub formatted book into the Calibre Library and using the Conversion tool save it as Mobi formatted file. From here I simply plugged my Kindle 3 into the computer and sent the file from the Calibre application to my Kindle 3. It really was that easy. Now when I opened my Kindle I had the NIMAS file in the Kindle and using the text to speech feature the Kindle could access and read the pages, complete with the graphics.

While it did take me a couple of steps to accomplish this - just imagine how useful a tool this can be for someone to be able to access their DAISY, Bookshare, or NIMAS files on a small and lightweight eReader like the Kindle 3. If you have any questions- please let  know . I would be interested in your comments. So if you have the chance take a look at the Don Johnston's latest application- DAISYtoEPUB.

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