Assistive Media

Assistive Media, Inc. is a nonprofit Internet-based reading service to serve people with visual and reading impairments.[1]

Assistive Media: Expanding the world of reading.

Assistive Media was founded in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1996 by David Erdody as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.[2][3] According to Erdody, it was inspired by his father's diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy, an avid reader of The New Yorker magazine and audiobooks.[1][4] He considers Duvall Hecht's Books on Tape (company) and the narration style of Grover Gardner to have had a major influence on his admiration for the audiobook format [1] . Utilizing volunteer readers and work-study students from the University of Michigan,[2][3] Assistive Media began producing and distributing spoken-word recordings of otherwise inaccessible materials on audio cassette to The Washtenaw County, Michigan Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled, a participating library of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress.[3]

In 1998, with the advent of online digital audio formats such as RealAudio, direct distribution of recordings shifted to the Assistive Media website and has received praise from the at-large online disabled community and also from David McCullough, Mark Cuban, and John Perry Barlow.[4][5] In 1999, Assistive Media was awarded RealNetworks, Inc.'s Progressive Streamers Award as the best nonprofit streaming web site of the year over Peter Gabriel's Witness (organization).[1][6]

Assistive Media has produced spoken-word recordings of works of nonfiction literature and long-form journalism from The Atlantic, Granta, Harper's Magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, Scientific American, and Wired.[4] It is considered one of the longest continuously running Internet-based nonprofit services. In 2011, Assistive Media began recording unabridged full-length books of biographical, historical, and contemporary nonfiction for online delivery to libraries that specialize in books for the blind [2]. Assistive Media is also affiliated with


  1. ^ a b c "Disabilities: On-line readings". Detroit Free Press. June 4, 1999. Retrieved April 20, 2018 – via  .
  2. ^ a b Nesbit, Joanne (June 1, 2004). "Spotlight: The gift of sound". The University Record Online. University of Michigan. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "About us". Assistive Media. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Clausing, Jeri (June 30, 1998). "New Media Helps Visually Impaired Hear Old Media". The New York Times. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  5. ^ Kaplan, Karen (February 1, 1999). "A Web of Dumb Laws and Paper Clips". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 20, 2018 – via  .
  6. ^ "Record-Setting RealNetworks Conference & Exhibition '99" (Press release). Seattle: RealNetworks. May 17, 1999. Archived from the original on June 9, 2002.

External linksEdit