E-books and E-reading Software

Electronic books (e-books) are an alternative to print, and may be useful to people who have difficulty reading because of vision or cognition disabilities, or who have difficulty holding a book or turning pages.  However, not all e-books are automatically accessible to blind users.  Libraries and schools should carefully consider their choices when making e-book decisions.

This article covers some of the most popular current choices.

E-book content may be available in different computer formats. Some books and magazines are available as standard text files or Microsoft Word documents. These are easily accessed by the use of screen reading software.

Another common format is PDF.  Adobe Systems offers a free PDF reader called Adobe Reader.  PDF documents can be produced to be accessible to blind users.

Bookshare.org is a membership-based website for persons with print-reading disabilities. Members, including schools and libraries, can download books and magazines in electronic format. Bookshare just released its iOS e-reader app, Read2Go, which offers easy navigation and voice selection.

The DAISY Consortium has created standards for digital talking books used by some publishers.

The Blio eReader will make available a large number of books in accessible electronic format.

NFB Newsline makes available a large number of newspapers and some magazines in electronic format. The publications can also be accessed over a telephone.

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