Indian Education System, let's Record, Research Study

Loss, or a win-win for all?

Think before you speak. Read before you think. – Fran Lebowitz

Survey Report on ‘Ways of Reading’

If you are reading this, then that must mean you are at least partially sighted, are not print impaired and are literate. All of this is pretty obvious. But, what if this text was extremely blurred, to the point where it is illegible, or was available in a non-professionally recorded audio without background noise cancellation?

Would you still read it as readily? And what about someone who is non-sighted? Which one of the above options would they prefer?

To find answers to these questions, a short survey using Google Forms:: Way of Reading was conducted, related to the medium of accessing and reading books/texts. Here is the report.

Section I ::

Data about family income, preferences about accessing books, whether blind/print impaired, was collected in the first section of the survey and it was observed that as the annual family income increased, the probability of people buying physical hard copies of the books instead of going into libraries or having Xerox copies of books increased.

In short,

Annual Income ∝ P (Buying Books)

Section II ::

Three samples of reading-

  1. A basic recorded matter (Video/Audio) without noise cancellation or professional editing (i.e., not recorded in any studio)
  2. A clearly legible & visible text
  3. An extremely blurred illegible text.

Final section ::

Our questionnaire required the respondents to list their preference order for each of the above mentioned ways of accessing a text/reading material, where,

  • First Preference = Most convenient/easy way for you to read/listen
  • Second Preference = Not as convenient as the first preference
  • Third Preference = You don’t like to read in this format

Results:

  • Poll count for a clearly visible text:

First Preference: 97.4%
Second Preference: 1.7%
Third Preference: 0.9%

*First Preference is not 100% because Blind Students also participated in this survey.


  • Poll count for basic recorded matter:

First Preference: 5.1%
Second Preference: 87.2%
Third Preference: 7.7%


  • Poll count for blurred/illegible text:

First Preference: 3.4%
Second Preference: 0.8%
Third Preference: 95.8%


Having shared this, one might wonder what is the purpose of all this? Why was this survey conducted in the first place? And what, exactly, is the conclusion which we want to arrive at?

So, the conclusion which we could come to, was this:

Sighted people would not go for non-professionally recorded audios if any sort of legible and clear text is available.

(Almost 90% of the respondents constituted the preference of buying hard copies of books, accessing had copies from libraries or free pdfs from the internet.)

The reason for collecting a hard evidence to back this, was for those publishers who say that recording of audiobooks will lead to losses for them.
There is a possibility of them losing buyers to audiobooks, but that is possible only in the case of professional audiobooks recorded in studios with voice modulations and effects, and not home-recorded audiobooks!

If there is a text available in the print form, (either hard copy or soft copy) then even if non-professional audiobooks are made, it cannot lead to any losses as sighted people would simply not opt for home-recorded audiobooks!

Now, it would be interesting to answer why these home-recorded audios are being made if they are not going to benefit the majority of the population. And the answer, as you might have already guessed, is that these recordings are being made for the non-sighted/print-impaired population!
While sighted people have a host of options for accessing texts, non-sighted people have to be completely dependent on audiobooks! It is very important to note that there are relatively fewer books available on professional audiobook platforms and mostly they are the most popular ones or just the more important ones! We are trying to record those books which print-impaired people are unable to find on these platforms.

For example;

If there is a book written by an amateur author in a regional language and which has not yet gained popularity, it won’t be produced professionally into an audiobook. If some person with print impairment or vision loss wanted to read it, they won’t have access to it, at all!

On the other hand, if someone were to take it, record it at home and send them the recording, they would be able to listen to it without it being a loss to the publisher. The survey results strongly establish that any sighted person would almost always prefer some form of physical print than the home-recorded audio which doesn’t have any special effects, music, voice modulations or editing! And for the person who benefitted from the audio, they had something rather than nothing!

The second scenario is a win-win for all and doesn’t lead to any losses as perceived by some publishers.



Few comments from the survey:

  • It’s really make me think how specially abled people would manage to listen and study. I am sure it requires patience.😳 – Aniket Bilari
  • You are doing well it’s osm…if you have any problem or some work with related editing any kind of editing just one msg or call me i will definitely there any time… – Sourabh Bahirmal
  • It’s ok if there is no professionality, but audio need to recorded properly with no more stressful background noise – Tejas waghmare (Visually Challenged Student)
  • Now, I know the actual reason behind why the let’s record initiative was started. – Rushikesh Pandurang Jadhav
  • Books are the best guide for our lives journey so our way to access them matters a lot. I think that if we are reading a text along with listening the same text can be good option for easy understanding of a person. – Yashashri Alamwar
  • Yes, the recorded notes or books are good and time saving but i like reading so i will prefer to printed one. – Rutuja Bajirav Kanade
  • It’s very helpful and Awesome way of Helping the Differently abled people. – Tanishq Rohidas Alhat
  • It would be more convenient if the audios do not have any background noise as it causes hindrance to the listener while processing the information. – Gauranshi Khanotra

This survey was carried out for the purpose of analyzing the Let’s Record Initiative.

Survey by: Vishal

Form created by: Ria

Analysis & Report written by: Apurva

  • Read more about Copyrights here.


If you have any feedback on the above mentioned matter, please do mention it in the Comments Section below.

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