Text in Alternate Format

Text in alternate format requests are approved on a case-by-case basis and students should schedule an appointment with the Office of Accessible Education and Student Support to discuss their needs. Text in alternate format accommodations may include, but are not limited to, electronic format, large print, and braille.

Electronic Format of Textbooks

Before contacting the Office of Accessible Education and Student Support, individuals requesting textbooks in alternate format should first attempt to obtain accessible copies of textbooks through the following resources, if available:

  • Bookshare: Membership is free and may be initiated from our office for qualifying students. Books are available in the following formats: Daisy, BRF, MP3, Bookshare WebReader (customized reading tool for members).
  • E-Text: Determine if an accessible electronic version is available for purchase instead of buying a hard copy.
  • See list of additional resources below.

If unable to find your textbook in e-format through these options, we can contact the publisher to request electronic formats of textbooks. In this instance, you will need to submit the following information for each book to accessibility@bates.edu or drop off in Lane Hall 101:

  • Title
  • Author
  • ISBN number
  • Copyright year
  • Publisher
  • Proof of purchase: Students must submit proof of purchase or rental before an e-copy can be provided by Accessible Education and Student Support. This can be emailed or dropped off in-person to be photocopied.

Electronic textbook requests can take several weeks to fulfill, so it is important to submit requests in advance of the start of the semester. If a publisher is unable to provide an alternative format, we will work with you to identify other options that ensure access.

Alternate Format of Course Materials

If approved for this accommodation, your professors will receive notification that you require text in a specified alternate format. If you or your professor encounter course materials that are not available in an accessible format, please contact the Office of Accessible Education and Student Support to discuss your needs.

Additional Alternate Format Text Resources

Learning Ally: Audio books for an annual membership fee. “Through a Learning Ally membership, you will have access to nearly 80,000 titles, including the world’s largest library of audio textbooks. Simply select the book you need, then listen to it on the PC, MAC, Chromebook, iOS, or Android device of your choice.”

VitalSource: “A digital rental service which lets students rent eTextbooks and online course materials at savings of up to 60% compared to buying new print textbooks.”

Audible: Audio books for a monthly fee.

Librivox: “Librivox audiobooks are free for anyone to listen to, on their computers, iPods, or other mobile device, or to burn to a CD.”

ManyBooks: Free and discounted e-books available in multiple formats, including PDF and large print.

Project Gutenberg: “Offers over 40,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online.”

National Library Service: “A network of regional and subregional libraries that provide free library service to persons who are unable to use standard print materials because of visual or physical disabilities. Library patron can expect to borrow audio or braille books such as they might find in print at a local library. Books and magazines in audio form (talking books) and braille are delivered to the eligible readers by postage-free mail and are returned in the same manner.”