FAQ

Seedlings has developed a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that we receive about Seedlings, the braille book ordering process, and braille.

About Seedlings

Is Seedlings a nonprofit corporation? Why?

Yes, Seedlings is a 501c3 organization. Nonprofit status was secured in 1984, which allowed Seedlings to expand its reach and secure donations to subsidize the cost of book production. Braille books are very expensive to produce, but with the help of grants and donations, we are able to make our braille books available at a much-reduced cost, an average of approximately $10 per book, and provide a variety of free braille book programs.

What geographic area does Seedlings serve?

From our small office in Livonia, Michigan, we have shipped our braille books to every state in the US, every province of Canada, and more than 75 other countries!

What is the age range for Seedlings’ books?

For the most part, our books are for children ages 0-14. However, there is no age limit on the joy of reading! Please keep in mind that older children and even adults will enjoy many of these books, too! Seedlings provides a suggested age range for each title, but encourages parents and teachers to choose books appropriate for each individual readers’ literacy/braille skills and reading interests.

Do you have any print-braille-and-picture books (sometimes called “Twin Vision” books)?

Yes! Seedlings has a nice selection of print-braille-and-picture books for toddlers and preschoolers (ages 0-5). These books provide a wonderful way to introduce braille to children with vision loss. They are also very popular with blind adults or older children who enjoy reading to sighted preschoolers.

How do you make your print-braille-and-picture books?

We purchase the print books and add the braille to them using clear plastic strips with an adhesive backing. This method leaves the print book intact and the braille words appear right on the same page with the print words and the pictures.

Do you have any print-and-braille books for older children?

Yes, Seedlings produces a variety of “easy-reader” books (for children ages 4-8) in a print-and-braille format. These are different from our print-braille-and-picture books because there are more words and no pictures. These books are printed right here in our office on sturdy braille paper, with the print words directly above the braille words. Books in this format are wonderful learning tools for beginning braille readers and sighted companions.

How do you make your braille books for older children?

These books are in a braille only format with no print or pictures. To make them, our certified braille transcribers select popular print books for children ages 6 and up to transcribe using braille transcription programs. The next step is to proofread the braille to ensure accuracy. Finally, the books are printed onto sturdy braille paper and bound using plastic combs and covers.

Does Seedlings have any books available on loan?

Unfortunately, no. We have a very small office, which helps keep our costs low, but prevents us from having adequate space for a “books on loan” program.

Does Seedlings have a “Book-of-the-Month” Club?

No. All of the books in our catalog are available for purchase at any time. The National Braille Press has a wonderful Children’s Braille Book-of-the-Month Club, however, and you can reach them at 800-548-7323.

We are interested in having some printed material translated into braille. Can you do this for us?

Unfortunately, no. We often refer people to the National Braille Association where they can help you find a local transcriber. Call 585-427-8260.

Do you accept donations of gently used braille books?

Due to Seedlings size and capacity, we are only able to accept donations of gently used Seedlings braille books. For braille books manufactured by another organization, we encourage you to check with you local libraries and school districts if they are interested in receiving donations.

How did Seedlings get its name?

The name comes from the idea that placing a book in a child’s hands is like planting a seed. With the proper nourishment (like good books to read!), we can help our children grow and flourish!

About Ordering Our Books

How quickly can you ship your books once you receive an order?

Our staff works hard to make sure that all books are in stock and ready to ship orders within five business days. Please keep in mind, however: if you choose to have your books shipped “Free Matter for the Blind”, there is an extended shipping period.

What does it mean to ship things “Free Matter for the Blind”?

Books in braille can be shipped postage-free through the US Postal Service (for more information, ask for Publication 347 at your post office). This is a wonderful free service, but please note that delivery times can be somewhat unpredictable and packages do not come with any tracking information. Free Matter shipping can take anywhere from 1-3 weeks in the continental US once the package leaves our office.

Do you ship internationally?

All international and non-continental US orders are shipped postage-free using Free Matter for the Blind via the US Postal Service. International Free Matter shipping can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks once the package leaves our office.

What shipping method do you recommend if we need our order by a specific date?

For people in the continental US, we recommend UPS. UPS shipping generally take 1-5 business days once the package leaves our office. For UPS Ground, please add 15% to your total with a minimum charge of $11.00. For UPS Overnight, 2nd Day Air, or 3 Day Select, please call the Seedlings office and we will calculate the shipping charges for you.

How do I request a quote?

If you need a quote, please contact Seedlings’ office via email at [email protected]. You must provide a complete list of your desired purchase including associated item number and quantities, your desired shipping method, and all the billing and shipping information.

How do I submit a purchase order?

Seedlings accepts purchase orders from schools, libraries, and other agencies with net 30 payment terms. You may submit your purchase order online by creating your cart and submitting your order using the Purchase Order payment method. You may also email your purchase order to [email protected], fax the order to 734-427-3460, or call our office at 800-777-8552 for assistance.

What methods of payment do you accept?

Orders may be placed online via our website using any major credit card. We also accept orders and payment by credit card over the phone (VISA, MasterCard and Discover only, please). Schools, libraries, and other agencies using purchase orders can place an order online or by mail, email, or fax, and we will bill them when we ship their books (net 30 days). If you would like to pay by check or money order (in US funds), please call our office.

Do you accept returns?

Seedlings has a limited Return Policy. Please see our full Return Policy.

Does Seedlings offer discounts?

All of the prices listed in our catalog are “pre-discounted” and, unfortunately, no additional discounts can be offered. Because we are a nonprofit, we sell our books for less than it costs us to make them. Check out our Free Programs page to see if you or your child qualifies for any of our free programs.

About Braille

What is Unified English Braille (UEB)?

Unified English Braille (UEB) is the official braille code used by all of North America and many other English-speaking countries across the world. Adopted in 2016, it replaced the previous code, English Braille American Edition (EBAE). UEB makes reading and transcribing braille easier by removing ambiguities and simplifying the code.

What is the difference between uncontracted braille and contracted braille?

Uncontracted braille is the simplest form of braille. It consists of a symbol for each letter of the alphabet and a few for punctuation. Contracted braille adds several dozen special symbols (called contractions and short forms) to make the braille easier and quicker to read. Please consult with your child’s VI teacher or early intervention specialist to determine what is appropriate for them. While most of our books are in contracted braille, we do have two sections, Print-Braille-and-Picture Books in Uncontracted UEB and Print-and-Braille Books in Uncontracted UEB, dedicated to uncontracted braille.

Other questions?

Please visit the Contact Us section of the web page. We will make every effort to promptly answer any questions!

Photo of a 1 year old girl reading Good Night Moon. Her hand is on the page feeling the braille.

Emma, 2

“Seedlings has been an amazing blessing to us, helping build a braille library for her from
the start.”

Samuel sitting on a couch, smiling at his sister while they both hold braille books in their laps.

Samuel, 7

“I have been reading Seedlings’ books with my family since I was a baby. I love Seedlings’ books because they feed my curiosity and because I can read to my baby sister—even in the dark!”

EmmaGrace smiling and holding a braille-only book.

Emma, 16

“I am a 16-year-old girl with vision loss who loves to read. Braille unlocks the world and is the key to gaining knowledge. I LOVE braille!”