Where can I find electronic text versions of books for students who have visual impairments or other print disabilities?
Each year increasing numbers of students with visual impairments and other print disabilities are requesting electronic text, commonly referred to as e-text, versions of books and other print-based media. Whether it be the latest version of a Biology textbook or Homer's the Iliad, finding e-text in a timely manner can be a challenge for educators.
Below are examples of Internet resources for both digital libraries, which contain public domain texts, and subscription-based libraries.
- Selected Sources for Electronic Texts, from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, is a selected list of sources for electronic text files that are in a variety of formats ranging from plain text to digital audio and digital Braille.
- Bookshare.org is a subscription-based service with over 125 newspapers and magazines and over 26,100 books available for subscribers to download in DAISY or the Braille digital format, BRF.
- Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg offers over 40,000 free ebooks.
As you search for electronic texts, keep in mind that just because a text is available electronically does not assure that it is in a format that is accessible for people with visual and/or print disabilities. Many states are adopting accessible textbooks laws which include guidelines for acceptable accessible file formats. For more information on this topic visit the AccessIT Knowledge Base article, Which states have accessible textbook laws and what do they say about file formats?