My wife, Grace, and I have just released the beta version of gracetoread.com, an open source online book reader (literally–the book is read to you while you read). We’ve opened up the code for the site on Github for anyone who wants to borrow, build, sell, or share it.
Right now we have chosen to release the beta with just two books, both by E. Nesbit. She’s a great children’s author who heavily influenced the works of other writers in the genre including C. S. Lewis and Tolkien (the masters of modern fantasy and myth as far as I’m concerned). These are simple books, presented online as books, with a cross-browser (and mobile-ready) audio player that allows a person to listen to the book while they read. This is intended as an aid for developing English language reading literacy.
The service and all applications and content associated with it are fully open source and free (the books are available via Project Gutenberg and are public domain, the audio is from LibriVox and is public domain and the code is hosted on Github at https://github.com/rwadholm/flipOpen/wiki). The Web application is still in development, and we’d love to eventually be able to offer the following:
- Include every public domain book on LibriVox/Project Gutenberg
- Support multiple languages
- Allow for user submissions of text and audio
- Automated scripts that allow for much faster content creation and submission (right now it takes about 10-12 development hours to fully put a book with audio into the system)
- Smoother transitions
- Search capabilities
- The ability to create personal collections of books
- User collaboration space (for putting together new books, or for building communities around particular books, authors, or collections)
If you have ideas or suggestions for improvement, or would like a particular book to be put into the collection next, let us know!