Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

E-Books: Accessibility

Improve your e-book reading experience

Tools within e-book platforms

Some e-book platforms offer options to change the text size, background and font colour, and can be adapted for use with screen reading or read aloud software. These tools are of benefit to all staff or students regardless of whether you have a visual impairment or any special accessibility requirements. Below, we'll take a look at the accessibility functionality and capabilities of each of our biggest e-book providers:

Ebook Central

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Full Text Download? No

Whole Book – Unavailable in most cases. 24-hour downloads as secure PDFs or EPUB files. E-reader required to view
Chapters – Limited chapter downloads as unsecured PDFs

Read Aloud?
Narration?
No Ebook Central does not provide an inbuilt Read Aloud or Narration function
Magnification? Yes Users can zoom in up to 300% using the plus and minus buttons in the online reader interface
Text Reflow? No The text does not reflow when using the zoom function
Text Font and Size? Yes Users can change the Ebook Central website typeface and the font of e-book full text to OpenDyslexic in the User Profile menu. However, the e-book font size cannot be changed
Page and Background? No It is not possible to change the background colour of the page on Ebook Central, however their style guides do specify that their use of colours meets minimum contrast specifications
Alt Text? Yes Ebook Central does support alternative text if provided by the publishers. However, some e-books contain images without accessible descriptions and cannot be read by a screen reader
Screen Reader? Yes Ebook Central pages contain hidden landmarks, description of state, and other code which can be detected by a screen reader and provide additional information. Everything is labelled according to its function, making navigation easier
Keyboard Navigation? Yes It is possible to navigate Ebook Central using only a keyboard. The tab, enter, and arrow keys allow you to navigate website menus, perform searches, read online (including book navigation), and download e-books
Unlimited Printing? No Users are permitted to print 10% of the text or one chapter at their discretion
Accessibility Statement? Yes Accessibility Statement: Ebook Central

EBSCOhost

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Full Text Download? No

Whole Book – Unavailable in most cases. 24-hour downloads as secure PDFs or EPUB files. E-reader required to view
Chapters – Limited chapter downloads as unsecured PDFs

Read Aloud?
Narration?
No EBSCOhost does not provide an inbuilt Read Aloud or Narration function. EBSCO recommend downloading key chapters and opening them with your preferred text-to-speech tool, or copying the text from the online reader into a text-to-speech tool
Magnification? Yes The EBSCOhost online reader allows users to zoom content beyond 200%
Text Reflow? Yes EPUB content reflows within the online reader (meaning it adjusts to the screen size/zoom level). However, PDF content does not reflow
Text Font and Size? No EBSCO interfaces use web fonts that are known to work well for dyslexic users. However, it is not possible to change the font type or size within an EBSCO e-book
Page and Background? No It is not possible to change the page/background colour within EBSCOhost, however, EBSCO's company-wide design standards include requirements for minimum colour contrast
Alt Text? Yes EBSCO rely on the publishers to provide tags and descriptive information for images. This means they cannot guarantee that images within e-books will have sufficient information for assistive technologies to interpret them
Screen Reader? Yes For e-books in EPUB format, any screen reader should work successfully. PDF e-books are compatible with screen readers using an ASCII text layer
Keyboard Navigation? Yes It is possible to navigate EBSCO e-books using only a keyboard. EBSCO e-books contain a Skip to Main Content link at the top of the viewer page, allowing keyboard users to skip redundant navigation links
Unlimited Printing? No Users are permitted to print 10% of the text (individual pages or a range) or one chapter at their discretion
Accessibility Statement? Yes EBSCO eBook Accessibility User Guide and FAQs

Kortext

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Full Text Download? Yes

Downloads of the whole e-book available as either secured PDFs or EPUB files via the Kortext App

Read Aloud?
Narration?
Yes Text can be converted to speech using the inbuilt Read Aloud function (only available via the Kortext App), available for both EPUB files and PDFs. The narration speed can be increased to three times normal speed or slowed down to half speed. The narrator voice can be changed to any of the user computer operating system's defaults.
Magnification? Yes All PDF files fully utilise magnification
Text Reflow? Yes All EPUB content is reflowable (meaning it adjusts to the screen size/zoom level). However, PDF content does not reflow
Text Font and Size? Yes The font style and size can be changed within EPUB format e-textbooks both online and in the Kortext App. Font types include Open Dyslexic, Open Sans, Noto Serif, and Old Standard TT (serif). Font style and size cannot be changed in PDFs
Page and Background? Yes The page background can be changed to dark sepia tone or night mode for different preferences and reading conditions within EPUB format e-textbooks both online and in the Kortext App. Page background and tone cannot be changed in PDFs
Alt Text? Yes Kortext relies on publishers for supplying alt tags and image descriptions within their e-books, but encourage all its publishers to supply this content wherever possible in their contracts. Kortext complies with WCAG 2.1 AA for all alt tags and long descriptions on all images across their site (excluding book covers).
Screen Reader? Yes The Kortext App has an inbuilt reader, but can also work with other screen readers including JAWS, TalkBack, NV Access, and VoiceOver
Keyboard Navigation? No Kortext provides keyboard only input for select functionality. The Quick Keys section of the Kortext Accessibility Commitment Statement provides further information and keyboard shortcuts
Unlimited Printing? No Users are permitted to print 10% of the text in ten-page ranges at any one time
Accessibility Statement? Yes Kortext Accessibility Commitment Statement

VLeBooks

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Full Text Download? No

Whole Book – Unavailable in most cases. 24-hour downloads as secure PDFs or EPUB files. E-reader required to view
Chapters – Limited chapter and page range downloads by printing pages to a PDF

Read Aloud?
Narration?
Yes The online reader has inbuilt text-to-speech. Narration speed can be increased to twice normal speed or slowed down to quarter speed. The narrator voice cannot be changed from the American-accented female default. E-books downloaded to e-reader software such as Adobe Digital Editions can also be read by most standalone screen reader software
Magnification? Yes VLeBooks have over 20 levels of magnification using the built-in zoom function, available when reading via the platform. The font size is dependent on device but typically a reading font size of between 4-36 is achievable
Text Reflow? No As the platform currently only supports PDF files, reflow is not available
Text Font and Size? No The font type cannot be changed within the e-book. However, for navigating the platform site, the font size can be made larger and/or changed to a Dyslexic friendly font through selecting Edit Accessibility Settings on the left side of the screen
Page and Background? Yes When reading via VLeBooks, users can change the page background colour to one of seven different dyslexia-friendly colours
Alt Text? Yes VLeBooks have the required Alt Tags to support image descriptions. However, the provision of alt-text and image descriptions is the responsibility of the publisher
Screen Reader? Yes JAWS and NVDA are not compatible with the online reader. To enable this software to perform, you must download the e-book to e-reader software such as Adobe Digital Editions, which can then be read by most screen reader software
Keyboard Navigation? Yes VLebooks does support keyboard shortcut navigation. The list of commands is provided within their Accessibility Guidance
Unlimited Printing? No Users are permitted to print 10% of the text as individual pages or a page range at their discretion
Accessibility Statement? Yes VLeBooks Accessibility Statement

Bloomsbury Collections

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Full Text Download? Yes

Unlimited whole-book and chapter downloads as PDFs

Read Aloud?
Narration?
No Bloomsbury Collections does not provide an inbuilt Read Aloud or Narration function
Magnification? No Magnification is only possible through a user's web browser. The site has been tested with 200% browser zoom to ensure that text still renders correctly and legibly, without losing any of the site’s functionality or navigation
Text Reflow? Yes Full text content is usually presented on a web page and is therefore reflowable when the browser's zoom functionality is used. When full text is presented in PDF, the text is not reflowable
Text Font and Size? Yes Full text content for all recently presented on a web page and is therefore resizable within a user's web browser. When full text is presented in PDF, the text is not resizable
Page and Background? No It is not possible to change the page background colour or tone for Bloomsbury Collections unless your web browser is equipped with special functionality or plug-ins that could make such changes to any other web page
Alt Text? Yes Appropriate alternative text has been provided for jacket cover images and book illustrations
Screen Reader? Yes Bloomsbury Collections have been manually tested using JAWS 18, NVDA 2018, Apple VoiceOver and Android Talkback. Book chapters are correctly tagged to allow screen reader users to navigate the content
Keyboard Navigation? Yes

Most of the site's functionality is fully accessible via keyboard. Recent updates include a Skip to Main Content link, which is now available for keyboard navigation on all pages. However, the sequence of navigation is incorrect for the Go to Page feature on the e-book title landing page

Unlimited Printing? Yes Unlimited printing from chapters simply by selecting the desired text online. Unlimited printing of downloaded whole-book and chapter PDFs
Accessibility Statement? Yes Bloomsbury Collections Accessibility Statement

Other useful tools

F.lux is software designed to adjust your screen colours to the time of day, reducing the blue glow, which might help improve the e-book reading experience. it is free to download for Windows/Mac: https://justgetflux.com.

If the e-book is downloadable, you can use the various tools available in Adobe Reader:

  • Apply colour overlays using the Edit > Preferences > Accessibility option from the Adobe Reader menu, then tick the 'Replace Document Colors' box. Click onto the Page Background color box to amend the background colour of the page, then click OK. 
  • Use the Read Out Loud function via the View > Read Out Loud menu option.‚Äč

Remember that if an e-book is downloadable as a PDF, you can use SensusAccess and other tools to convert this to a more useable format. If an e-book is not downloadable as a PDF or the online reader is unsuitable, a better version may be obtainable from the publisher or via RNIB Bookshare.

 

Further guidance and support

 For further assistance you can request a 1:1 appointment with a member of our Liaison Team.

Library Liaison Teams

Get in touch for help and advice on making the most of your library resources, or to book a 1:1 appointment with your Librarian.

Select your subject from the drop down menu to find your librarian.

 

For more information about your Library Liaison Teams, click here.

Contact Us