Textbooks in Alternate Formats


Digital books are often a great option for students who prefer or need to obtain material auditorially through screen reader programs.

Ebooks are available through many sources, but be aware that not all electronic books are accessible to all screen reader programs. Resources like VitalSource sell eTextbooks and indicate what assistive technology works with each book. When searching for ebooks, you may want to with the GVSU Laker Store. DSR also recommends first utilizing community resources like Bookshare,  Learning Ally, or Bibliovault.

To access Accessible versions of materials. Grand Valley University students with print disabilities may work with Disability Support Resources to obtain alternative format files of textbooks if unavailable from other sources.

Students who do not have current accounts with Bookshare are highly encouraged to create one. Students must provide a proof of disability form signed by a qualified expert; DSR can assist with this verification if needed.

If you wish to obtain eBooks:

  • First, obtain a list of the textbooks required in your courses through banner, blackboard, the course syllabus or go to the GVSU Laker Store to look up your books.
    • Gather the following information
      • Title
      • Author
      • ISBN (International Standard Book Number)
      • Publisher/Journal name
      • Publication year
      • Edition
      • Number of pages
      • Course number
  • After you obtain the textbook information, search for electronic versions before purchasing to see if it is already available or if it can be requested.

Assistive Technology Training: If you would like help getting the most out of your accessible textbooks, schedule an assistive technology training session.  

Assistive Technology Training


If you are registered with DSR and have alternative textbooks as an approved accommodation, start first with the process above to locate ebooks. If materials are unavailable or cannot be procured in a timely fashion, then proceed with requesting textbooks from DSR through the following procedure.

  • Please be aware that files provided by DSR are not audiobooks but, most often, PDF or Word files that are readable by a screen reader.
  • Textbooks are requested in the order in which they are submitted, so the earlier we receive the request and books, the faster we can get them back to you.
  • Complete and submit a textbook request form in the DSR Portal by clicking the Test and Alternate Format Book Requests, click accommodation requests,  semester, and request type "book." If this form is not accessible, please email [email protected] with your request.
  • Copyright laws require us to show proof of purchase. Please provide us with a copy of your receipt by uploading it to the form, emailing it, or dropping it off at our office.
  • Allow 14 business days after submitting the request for publishers to return the alternate versions, especially at the beginning of Grand Valley State University's fall and spring semesters.
  • When a publisher cannot provide an electronic or digital copy of the book, we will ask you to bring in the actual book. Please be aware that we must cut the spines off books in order to scan them.  It may take DSR up to 14 business days to process the books during the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. In off times, DSR may be able to provide the alternate format within five business days.
  • Pick up the print version of the books you submitted from DSR by finals week of the semester, or the books will be considered the property of DSR.
  • Watch your Grand Valley State University email for updates regarding textbook files and confirmation that your materials are ready.  

Disability Support Resources makes every effort to provide the electronic versions of textbooks as quickly as possible; however, the timing of the publishers is out of our control.

Page last modified December 20, 2023