About ReadAssist


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Our Mission

We are Science Fiction and Fantasy fans. Some of our fellow fans have physical problems that make reading or communicating difficult. This group exists to aid our brother and sister fans with those difficulties.

What is ReadAssist?

ReadAssist is an organization interested in assisting individuals to read and communicate via the Internet.

How did ReadAssist come about?

On October 11, 2000, the Baen Free Library was established as a matter of principle at the urging of Eric Flint, professional science fiction author. Anyone who wishes can read these titles online, or download them in one of several formats, with no strings attached. Eric disagreed with a number of people over the issue of online piracy of copyrighted works and what to do about it. So with the agreement of his publisher Jim Baen and some other authors, he made one of his own books available online, along with one by David Weber, one by David Drake, and two written jointly by himself and Drake. The Baen Free Library was born. Eric subsequently received about a hundred emails supporting the project. Two of those letters -- one of them written by Jimmy G. -- were from readers of science fiction with severe physical handicaps who explained what a boon for them the Free Library would be. Since then, the Baen Free Library has expanded, with more authors making their works available.

When SF fans emailed to say what a help e-books were for those who could not manipulate books, or could not see books, ReadAssist formed spontaneously, with the primary goal of helping Jimmy G. (see Jimmy's Corner) become a true member of fandom. When Jimmy departed, ReadAssist decided to continue, to help others: maintaining a website and, depending on finances, engaging in more specific help.

In about 2006, the Science Fiction Public Library came into being, and ReadAssist became a committee of that non-profit corporation, whose registration as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt entity is pending (April 2007).

How is ReadAssist managed?

The managing group of ReadAssist began as a board of several individuals (originally 10) organized into various working committees. The funds donated to ReadAssist are in the custody of the Treasurer of Science Fiction Public Library, earmarked for the use of ReadAssist. The board of ReadAssist approves all disbursing actions over $50.


ReadAssist is a committee of Science Fiction Public Library, which is incorporated as a non-profit. Its non-profit status is pending; when it is registered as a 501(c)3, donations will be tax-deductible, and retroactive to the beginning of the year in which the registration is approved. To donate, see the Contact page.

ReadAssist does not collect information from individual donors through this website. Information by name, address and amount donated is maintained in the Treasurer's records. The information is reported to the Finance Committee and the board only in broad categories and without individual mention. The reports are available for inspection upon request. Check the link in the website.


There are no "cookies" associated with this site. "Cookies" are small text files a Website can use to recognize repeat visitors, facilitate the visitor's access to and use of the site and allow a site to track visitor behavior and compile aggregate data. ReadAssist does not use "cookie" technology.

ReadAssist is not connected in any way with Baen Books, other than that Baen Books allowed the initial effort and organization to take place on a discussion board hosted by Baen Books.