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Nine Things About Bookshare You Should Absolutely Know

The Bookshare team receives many questions about everything from who qualifies and what membership costs to the types of ebooks in the collection and how to read them. Read on for answers to frequently asked questions and other mysteries.

Do students need an IEP or 504 Plan to qualify for Bookshare membership?

No! Students do not need an IEP or 504 plan to qualify for Bookshare membership. Students of any age with a qualifying disability like dyslexia, blindness, and cerebral palsy can join for FREE. Learn more about Bookshare’s qualifications as specified by US copyright law and submitting proof of disability.

Is Bookshare only for people with visual impairments?

Access to Bookshare is not limited to people with low vision or blindness. People with reading barriers such as a learning disability like dyslexia or a physical disability like cerebral palsy may qualify for Bookshare. Learn more about Bookshare’s qualifications.

Is Bookshare really free for students?

Bookshare is free for U.S. schools and students with qualifying disabilities including K-12 public and private schools, home schools, colleges and universities, and trade or vocational schools. Funding is provided through an award from the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Learn more about free Bookshare memberships for students and schools.

Can students get books themselves, or do teachers have to find and assign books for students?

Students who are members on a school organizational account can only read books assigned to them by their teachers. If they upgrade to an Individual Membership, (which requires parent assistance if they are under 18), they can choose their own books. Learn more about how students can get free Individual Memberships.

Does Bookshare have textbooks?

Bookshare has the largest, most diverse, and most current collection of titles – over 950,000! Whether individuals with reading barriers need books for school, work or pleasure, Bookshare has the highest likelihood of having the book you want including textbooks, vocational guides, bestsellers, award winners, test preparation, newspapers and periodicals, picture books, and much more. Browse the collection.

Does Bookshare work on tablets and mobile devices?

Bookshare works on many popular devices including tablets, smartphones, computers, Chromebooks, AT devices, and more. A variety of free and paid apps work on your favorite device and support offline reading, so you can take Bookshare anywhere you go. Use the Reading Tool Wizard to find an app that works on your device.

Does Bookshare have any books for people who don’t have a qualifying disability?

Bookshare has about 10,000 freely available books published under the public domain or creative commons license. Browse these special collections of books and get instructions for downloading and reading all freely available books.

Does Bookshare have any human-narrated books?

Bookshare books are read with high-quality, text-to-speech voices which allows Bookshare to give members greater choice and instant access to books, as well as flexibility in reading. The selection of voices is dependent upon the device you have and the reading app you use. Readers can choose from male or female voices with a variety of accents and also adjust the narration speed.

Do I get to keep the books or do I have to return them?

Bookshare members can download as many books as they want and keep them indefinitely. Unlike a public library, Bookshare offers unlimited copies of each book with no return or expiration date. You can read to your hearts’ content! Learn more about finding and reading books.

Need more help?

Visit the Training Resources Library for a wide variety of videos and guides.  You can also search the Help Center and learn more in the Learning Center. The Bookshare Customer Support Team is available Monday-Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm PT by phone (650-352-0198) or email to answer your questions.

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