Tag Archives: braille books

“Lost In The Labyrinth Of My Mind” Is Now Available In Braille

I was delighted to receive the braille edition of my book, “Lost In The Labyrinth Of My Mind” in yesterday’s mail. As I wrote in my post of 19 January (https://newauthoronline.com/2016/01/19/touching-words/), “While I am a huge fan of ebooks there is, in my opinion no substitute for their physical counterparts”.
The braille edition of “Lost In The Labyrinth” joins the accessible version of my first collection of poetry, “Dalliance” and is comfortably ensconced next to it on my bookshelves.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) have done a good job of work, with the poems being nicely set out on the page. Unfortunately 2 of my poems, “Under The Stars” and “Wind Chimes” have been misrendered with separate titles being assigned to integral parts of both poems (I.E. the coherence of the poetry is interrupted by words which form part of the poems being incorrectly assigned as titles for separate (non-existent) poems). As the poet, I know how the poems should read. However, if RNIB add “Lost In The Labyrinth Of My Mind” to it’s catalogue, others may be confused by what has happened. Consequently I have notified RNIB of the errors which will, I hope be corrected.
The misrendering of 2 of my poems underlines for me the importance of proof reading prior to a book going on sale and/or into libraries. Painstaking checking and re-checking (whether of braille or print books) is important as badly presented publications can create a poor impression of the author in the reader’s mind.

(“Lost In The Labyrinth Of My Mind” is available as an ebook in the Amazon Kindle store and can be found here, http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01AF5EPVY?keywords=Lost%20in%20the%20labyrinth%20of%20my%20mind&qid=1452670393&ref_=sr_1_1&s=digital-text&sr=1-1. I am currently working to produce a print edition which will, I hope be available in mid to late March 2016).

Kevin

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Poor Customer Service From Future Aids (The Braille Superstore)

This post is about the poor customer service provided by Future Aids (http://www.braillebookstore.com/). In early November I placed an order for a book which arrived in a matter of weeks (not bad considering the company is based in Canada and the package was shipped using standard surface mail). While the quality of the Braille was excellent, I was surprised that the 2 volumes where unlabelled making it difficult to distinguish them from the many other books on my shelves). I sent an email asking why the books arrived unlabelled and received a response saying that this needed to be requested at the time of ordering. Fair enough I thought, next time I will do that and pay the additional $1 per volume for the service.
On 20 November I ordered a further 2 books from The Braille Superstore/Future Aids and explicitly requested in the comments section of the form they be labelled in Braille. On receiving the receipt I noticed that no charge had been made for labelling and emailed asking whether this had been done. To cut a long story short, I was informed that it had not and the cost for providing the service is $50 per volume (hugely different from the $1 I was quoted originally)! I was also told that I aught to have specified in the comments section that I was willing to pay the additional fee!
What truly irks me about this whole incident is the lack of an apology for what is (quite clearly) an error on the part of Future Aids. I did as requested by explicitly stating my need for the books to have titles shown on the covers. Mistakes happen, but the sign of a well run company is that it’s representatives acknowledge their errors and apologise for them. To put the responsibility for an error (as was done in this case) on the customer is wholly wrong. More worrying is the huge discrepancy in the price quoted for adding the title to the book cover ($1 and $50)! If the facility is indeed available there should be a standard charge known to Future Aid’s representatives, not a make it up as we go along charging structure.
Below I have copied my exchange with The Braille Superstore (also known as Future Aids). Anyone thinking of purchasing Braille or IT equipment from Future Aids should, in my view think carefully prior to doing so.

Kevin

Email from Kevin Morris To The Braille Superstore (21 November 2015)

“Thank you for your email attaching a receipt in respect of the above
order. In the comments section of the order form I requested that each
book have it’s title brailled on the cover. Can you please let me know
whether this was done?

Many thanks,

Kevin”.

Email From The Braille Superstore To K Morris (21 November 2015)

“No, it was not. It is not our policy to label each cover. If you wish this done in future, you would need to pay an additional $.50 per Braille volume.
Thanks for checking.

All the Best,
Customer Service”.

Email From K Morris To The Braille Superstore (21 November 2015)

“Thank you for your reply. I wrote to you on 18 November asking about
this service and received the below (cut and pasted) response on the
same date
“Kevin,

Thanks for your Email.

If you wish, we can Braille the title of each book on the cover during
assembly. This process is done by hand and there is thus a $1 charge
per volume
for this service. You may request it by placing a note in the Comments
box on the Checkout page with future orders.

All the Best,
Customer Service”.
I complied with the instructions and specified that braille on each
cover was required when placing my order, however this was not
actioned by yourselves. Also there is a discrepancy in the price
quoted by yourselves in your latest email and that provided in the
message dated 18 November. Please clarify the position”.

Email From The Braille Superstore To K Morris (22 November 2015)

“You needed to indicate in the Comments box that you were willing to pay the $1.00 charge per volume. As I am sure you can appreciate, there are many of
us processing orders at this time of the year and we cannot all know the arrangement you made with one staff member. It’s a case of getting orders out
to the customers promptly and on time.

All the Best,
Customer Service”.

My bookshelves

I thought it would be interesting to share a view of the bookcase in my bedroom. The books in question are all in braille. I have four book cases in total; the one in the bedroom, another in my living room and two in my study/spare room.

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K Morris reading an anonymous poem entitled ‘The Bridal Morn’

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A selection of books from my bookcase

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My bookcase

K Morris reading an anonymous poem entitled ‘The Bridal Morn’

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/oct/08/poem-of-the-week-bridal-morn

An article from The Guardian about the poem ‘The Bridal Morn’

Writing Tools – A Guest Post By Victoria (Tori) Zigler

Thank you to Victoria (Tori) Zigler for the below guest post. For Tori’s previous (related) article please visit (https://newauthoronline.com/2015/05/13/from-idea-to-ebook-a-guest-post-by-victoria-tori-zigler/). For Tori’s blog please see, (http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk/).

 

I’ve always loved writing, and it wasn’t unusual to see me as a little girl; pencil in hand, as I scribbled something on a piece of paper. I even held “lessons” for my dolls, where I would show them how to write poems and stories, with the occasional break to do some sums, since I also enjoyed mathematics.

 

As I grew, my sight decreased, so that I could no longer see pencil markings clearly without pressing so hard the pencil would all but go through the page, while the pleasure writing gave me increased, so that I formed the habit of carrying a notebook and pen with me everywhere; along with a book to read, of course, since I’ve always been a voracious reader.

 

I was ten years old when I was given a laptop for use for my schoolwork, since the teachers were starting to struggle to read my writing. Officially the laptop was only for schoolwork and homework, but I used to write stories on it too, though I still carried my trusty notebook and pen around with me everywhere I went; ready to take quick notes of any ideas that popped in to my head, which I would later type up.

 

I carried a notebook and pen around with me right up until the point where I could no longer see to use one. Then I destroyed every notebook I still had in my possession; a move which cost me a few story and poem ideas I no longer remember, and could have had someone read for me to make note of, butt which I felt – and still feel – was right, since my notebooks were journals as well as writer’s notebooks, so they contained some things I’d prefer not to allow others to read.

 

I can read and write Braille, and even have a shiny red brailler that I’ve had since just after I learned Braille while I was still at school, which I was given when my sight decreased enough that it was decided I should use Braille at school; the brailler was given to me to do my homework on. But I rarely use my brailler for writing. At home I use a computer, and the brailler is much too bulky and heavy to carry around for writing. So, now that it has no homework to help with, my brailler is used more to produce something in Braille that I need access to while I’m out, but will write at home; like a shopping list, or an address, or something like that.

 

There are some Braille frames that are a lot more portable, but they’re not very easy to use when you’re trying to focus on a thought that’s popped in to your head. I also find that voice recording devices aren’t very practical, since background noise makes it difficult for you to get a decent recording; unless you want to speak so loudly everyone will likely stop what they’re doing to look at you, which I don’t. As for using my Kindle’s notes function… Well, that may be an option later on, but right now using the touchscreen keyboard is proving to be a challenge I have yet to overcome. So, I have yet to find a suitable substitute for my trusty notebook and pen.

 

On the bright side, I have a computer at home, so can use that for writing. And, hey, if the electric goes out, I still have my brailler, which requires no electricity at all.