The answers are at the tips of your fingers

There's an article at Salon about braille dying out in favor of text to speech and audiobooks. It says:
In this New York Times article, we find that many blind people, including the governor of New York, don't read braille. Instead they rely on audiobooks, recordings of newspapers and magazines, and human assistants to orally brief them on the business of the day. Text-to-speech technology allows people to hear their e-mails and other documents.

And in this Canadian Broadcasting Corp. article, we find that the major provider of books in braille in Canada is about to go out of business if it can't get government funding or some other source of revenue. They are having a hard time convincing people that braille is even necessary anymore.


  1. This is so cool! I've been working on a blind character for over a year so I've looked into this a good bit. First, Braille takes up a lot of room. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire? Something like twenty volumes. Aside from the expense of publishing in Braille it also requires a great deal more material. And is NOT portable.

    I disagree that Braille is now obsolete, however. Text to speech is great, but there still needs to be some sort of fallback. Elevator buttons, public restrooms, etc. need to have Braille labels. And household appliances. Try using your microwave with your eyes closed. At the very least you need a Braille label gun, especially for a new or unfamiliar appliance with a touch screen.

  2. I never understood why we needed braille in the first place, when they could just make raised letters. Or maybe that would be too small for fingers to feel out correctly? I don't know. This may be wildly offensive (and I'm sorry if it is, I don't mean it as such and it comes innocently, I assure you) but don't blind people have better other senses? Like how Daredevil can hear stuff and make pictures in his head?

  3. Don't you need braille when you want to write something private, like a mushy love letter? The receiver of a mushy love letter doesn't want to ask someone to read it out loud to her!

  4. On the bright side, you can still take the driver's exam in Braille in the UK. No, I'm not kidding.