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English Braille Catholic Bible is Available For The First Time
For the first time, people who prefer reading Braille over any other alternatives, can read the Catholic Bible in Grade II English Braille. If I haven't dealt with this issue for years, I would have a hard time believing that it was not available before. But it is true. Many people did not have the luxury of reading the Bible of their choice in the format of their first preference.
Just a little background. People who can read regular print, can go to a book store, pick up their choice of sacred scripture and start reading it right away. People who cannot see have different options. They can listen to books on tape, on CD, podcasts, read electronic text on the computer with a screen reader, or read Braille, just to name a few options. Ideally, people should be able to make this choice and not be restricted. Despite the advancement of technology, there is nothing like reading a book, which folds like a book, smells like paper, and can be dragged to bed. There must be a need for it anyway, because book stores still sell these things in regular print, so there is nobody to say that blind people should not enjoy this "privilege". In many countries, even legislation demands to make materials available in alternative formats if requested, including Braille.
There is, however, a bit of a problem with reading a Braille Bible. It is huge, depending on the format, it can be as large as 50 volumes given the nature of Braille. But some people would still make a sacrifice of purchasing it, designating a separate shelf (or four or five) to store it. Up until recently, people who read English Braille did not have the option of buying the Catholic Bible. If you are not familiar with the differences, I won't go into a theological discussion, but the Catholic Bible contains 72 books, making it different from the Bible protestant denominations use. And why would people want a different version? Why not. Because if people who can read print have this option, why would those not have it who read Braille. It is just this simple. Of course, Bibles of other denominations are just as great, but can you imagine a child attending a religion class and not being able to prepare for the next class because the Bible did not contain the homework? Just to pick one example.
But before we start blaming anybody, let's establish the fact that Braille books are very expensive in general. You could ask, couldn't a company Braille the entire Bible just like they could Braille any other books? Yes, but one copy itself would probably cost thousands of Dollars. Even if there was a demand for larger quantities, it would cost a lot. At this expense, the demand is definitely lower than it is for regular print Bibles.
Another option was to borrow the Catholic Bible from the Xavier Society for the Blind. But let's face it, the Bible is not the kind of book you want to borrow, read it from cover to cover and return it, so it was only a partial solution.
Just recently I have noticed that Future Aids offers a Braille Roman Catholic Bible on their site. It is still not cheap, the price of the entire Bible is $709.95. However, knowing about the cost of Braille production, I wonder how could they produce it for this cheap. They also offer the option of purchasing the individual books of the Bible, or just to get either the Old Testament or the New Testament, which brings it down to a very reasonable price.
While you can directly go to the order page following the above link, in case you prefer to order over the phone, you can contact them at: 1-800-987-1231.
So, the first problem is solved. The entire Catholic Bible is available. But it is definitely at such a price that not all people could fork out, even though it is very reasonable for what it is. Now I'm looking for a solution to make the Bible available for all who wish to read it, without having to make a compromise on the format. Let's face it, for this price, you can buy a laptop with a Bible software, let alone, you can use the laptop for many other things. Still, people should be able to read actual books if they wish so.
I really would like to hear from you and learn about your opinion. Do you think it is overall a good idea to have the Catholic Bible available in Braille? Do you know of any people who would benefit from owning one? Do you have any ideas on how to make it available to all people while covering the generous prices of Future Aids?
Feel free to leave a comment below, or just e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org