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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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You may also view the AIM Guide to AMPs which compares all three AMPs.

Updated March 2014

AMP Name: Bookshare
Address: 480 S. California Avenue, Suite 201; Palo Alto, CA 94306-1609
Phone: (650) 644-3400
Fax: (650) 475-1066
Web: Opens new window

Who should be contacted if there are questions?

Send an email to support [at] bookshare [dot] org or membership [at] bookshare [dot] org.

Based on the National Library Service regulations at 36 C.F.R. § 701.6(b), which student certification categories do you serve?

checked boxBlind
checked boxVisually Impaired
checked boxPhysical Limitations
checked boxReading disability resulting from organic dysfunction

Describe the certification requirements and how these are verified and maintained.

Eligibility for Bookshare is determined by the language of the Chafee Amendment to U.S. Copyright Law. For NIMAC books, a student must be Chafee-qualified and have a public-school IEP. For more details, see

If a student qualifies, how is the student registered?

Go to Opens new window and follow the steps to create an organizational or individual membership for your student. With an organizational membership, authorized teachers or staff members (Sponsors) may download books for their registered students (Members), or share books with these students using Bookshare’s Reading Lists feature. In addition, a student can have an individual membership, authorized by his or her parents (if the student is under 18 years of age). In addition to or in lieu of being included on an organizational account, qualified students 18 years of age and older can sign up for Bookshare on their own.

What types of memberships are available?

checked boxIndividual student accounts
checked boxInstitutional/organizational accounts
For further information, go to Opens new window

Describe your membership requirements:

checked boxIndividual student accounts
checked boxInstitutional/organizational accounts
For further information, go to Opens new window

Do you require membership fees for individual student accounts?

unchecked boxYes   checked boxNo   unchecked boxDepends on circumstances

No charge for qualified students of any age: K–12, college, or continuing education. Qualified non-students pay $50/year with an additional one-time sign-up fee of $25 [at this writing]. For further information, go to Opens new window

Do you require membership fees for institutional/organizational accounts?

unchecked boxYes   unchecked boxNo   checked boxDepends on circumstances

Currently, Bookshare offers free memberships to qualifying U.S. students and the organizations that serve them through an award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Organizations serving qualified non-students can purchase book blocks. Learn more at Opens new window

What is the process to access these services?

Create an organizational or individual membership. For organizational accounts, Sponsors add qualified students to their roster. Search or browse for books and read them with a compatible reading tool. Bookshare provides free reading tools, including Bookshare Web Reader and Read:OutLoud Bookshare edition. Based on the terms of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that established the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC), accessing NIMAC books is different than accessing other Bookshare media. Bookshare’s NIMAC-sourced books are only available for U.S. K–12 students with print disabilities as defined in the Chafee Amendment to copyright law, and who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). To ensure that Bookshare complies with the above limitations, transcribers, adults with print disabilities, and private schools serving students who do not have an IEP from a public K–12 education agency that states that the individual needs textbooks in accessible formats, cannot download these books. For more information, refer to the Opens new windowNIMAC Textbook Questions section in the Bookshare Support Center.

Please provide a link to your web site where step-by-step instructions on how to access your services are provided.

For further information, see Membership Options at Opens new window

What services do you provide?
checked boxXML conversion
unchecked boxOriginal transcription
checked boxDownloads
checked boxScanning
checked boxNIMAS file conversion
checked boxOther (please specify): Training in the use of accessible instructional materials and Bookshare (visit Opens new window

Who can use these services?
checked boxAuthorized Users (AUs)
checked boxState agencies (SEAs)
checked boxLocal education agencies (LEAs)
checked boxTeachers
checked boxOthers: Qualified Members

What specialized formats are provided?

circle iconBraille
unchecked boxEmbossed contracted braille
unchecked boxEmbossed uncontracted braille
unchecked boxElectronic contracted braille
unchecked boxElectronic uncontracted braille
unchecked box-.brf (braille-ready format) in conformance with BANA guidelines
checked box-.brf (braille-ready format) other
unchecked boxTactile graphics
unchecked boxHard copy
unchecked boxElectronic
unchecked boxOther (please specify):

circle iconLarge Print
unchecked boxLarge print (over-sized textbook)
unchecked boxFont sizes (please specify):
unchecked boxLarge print (standard-sized textbook)
unchecked boxFont sizes (please specify):

circle iconAudio
checked box-.mp3
unchecked box-.mp4
unchecked box-.wav

circle iconDAISY 2002 HTML (digital talking book [DTB]) with—
unchecked boxText
checked boxImages
unchecked boxImage descriptions
unchecked boxHuman-voice audio
unchecked boxPre-recorded synthetic audio
unchecked boxOther (please specify):

circle iconDAISY 2005 HTML (digital talking book [DTB]) with—
checked boxText
checked boxImages
checked boxImage descriptions [limited number of books only]
unchecked boxHuman-voice audio
checked boxPre-recorded synthetic audio
checked boxOther (please specify): Text-to-speech

circle iconDigital text
unchecked box-.pdf
unchecked box-.rtf
unchecked boxWord
checked boxHTML
unchecked boxePUB 2
checked boxePUB 3
checked boxOther (please specify): -.txt (out-of-copyright works)

circle iconFile formats accessible on mobile platforms
checked boxiOS
checked boxAndroid
unchecked boxWindows phone
checked boxSymbian
unchecked boxBlackberry OS
unchecked boxOther (please specify):

Are apps needed to use the files on mobile devices? If so, where are they acquired and what is the cost?

Yes. Our iOS reader, Read2Go, can be purchased through the Apple App Store for $19.99 [at this writing] (a volume discount is available for schools—see Opens new window for more information). Also, a free Android accessible book reader called Go Read is available in the Google Play Store..

Is assistive technology such as a computer, device, and/or software program needed to deliver the files to the student in a student-ready format? If so, please explain.

Bookshare books may be read on a computer without specialized reading tools, using Bookshare Web Reader, as well as with compatible assistive technologies. Individual Bookshare members can read books in an Internet Browser using Bookshare Web Reader, which is launched when the member selects the "Read Now" link next to their desired book in Bookshare. The Bookshare Web Reader takes advantage of accessibility features in the Google Chrome browser that facilitate multi-modal reading (hearing the words read aloud as they are highlighted on the screen). Bookshare Web Reader will also read books in Internet Explorer, Safari, and Firefox, but these browsers do not support the self-voicing or word highlighting functionality at this time. Alternatively, Bookshare books can be read with a DAISY reader, a screen reader (such as JAWS or Window-Eyes), an MP3 player, a DAISY Audio device, or an assistive technology device that reads refreshable Braille (-.brf). We provide two free DAISY reader software applications, Victor Reader Soft Bookshare Edition and Read:OutLoud Bookshare Edition. We also provide all files in -.brf, .mp3, and DAISY Audio. Works which are not copyrighted (i.e., in the public domain or licensed through Creative Commons) are also available in -.txt and -.html. Once a file has been downloaded by or for a registered member, a user may convert the file to any format that works best for them, including -.html. The file may not be shared with another user. Go to Opens new window for further information.

If assistive technology is needed, do you provide it? Is it provided with membership or for purchase?

We provide two free DAISY reader software applications, Victor ReaderSoft Bookshare Edition and Read:OutLoud Bookshare Edition, to registered members. In addition, Individual Members can read books in an Internet browser with the free Bookshare Web Reader. Members wishing to read books on Android devices can download Go Read from the Google Play store, and Members who have iOS devices, including the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone, can download Read2Go from the Apple App store for $19.99 [at this writing] (a volume discount is available for schools—see Opens new window for more information).

What assistive technology from other sources might be needed?

We provide free technology to our Members, and in most cases our book files are compatible with other assistive technology already being used by Bookshare Members.

How long will it take to get the specialized format after an order is placed?

Books in the NIMAC database can be added to Bookshare in one to two weeks. Other educational books can be added in one to two months. Requests for books not needed for school go on a wish list and can be processed by volunteers within a few months.

Do you have a digital rights management (DRM) system? What are your policies?

Yes, we do. We electronically watermark our books as being from Bookshare, and we digitally fingerprint them as having been downloaded by or for a given member. We also require proof of disability and a signed user agreement. All books include their copyright notice.

When the instructional materials are no longer needed by the student, do they need to be returned?

Once they have been downloaded, members may keep them. But they may not be transferred to anyone else, including another user. Each member must have books downloaded solely for their own use so that the DRM can be in compliance.

How will confidential information about the student be protected?

We require proof of disability and a valid email address. We do not share this information with anyone, and we do not compile information on books downloaded by individuals. We comply with all FERPA policies regarding student privacy.


Last Updated: 03/17/2014

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