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Bookshare A Benetech Initiative

By: Joel Hosner, MDTAP Advisory Council Consumer Representative

For many people with reading, visual, and physical disabilities, reading from printed books can be challenging. Fortunately, there are other ways to access textbooks, children’s books, and even the books on the current bestseller list. Bookshare is a nonprofit, online library, serving only people with reading barriers. When books are provided in a digital format, texts can be enlarged, read aloud through text-to-speech, or translated into Braille. Bookshare books can be accessed on many different devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, Chromebooks, smartphones, and refreshable Braille displays.   

Students can get a Bookshare account for free, while other individuals with disabilities can get unlimited access to Bookshare for only $50 per year. Teachers can assign accessible versions of books that they are using in class to qualifying students through a Bookshare account created for their school.

To sign up for Bookshare, go to Bookshare.org, and click on “Get Started.” From there, individual and school accounts can be set up. If you have any questions about Bookshare, go to Bookshare.org, and click on “Help Center,” or you may email Joel Hosner, an MDTAP Advisory Council Consumer Representative, at jhosner1@jhu.edu.

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