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E-Book Accessibility

We aim to purchase e-book platforms and publisher content which are accessible to all students. Within this guide you will find a link to the accessibility statement for each platform.

If e-book platforms or publisher resources are not compatible with your assistive software, please see our alternative formats service available for students registered with Student Health and Wellbeing

E-book formats

A summary of the accessibility features and characteristics of the available formats:


E-books in HTML format for reading online have the following benefits:

  • Usually accessible to text-to-speech and screen reading software.
  • Can usually be copied and pasted, increasing usability.
  • It's quicker and more straightforward to access e-books online without needing to download them. 
  • Useful for people who cannot open downloaded files on their device.

PDF online

E-books as PDF documents for reading online have the following benefits: 

  • E-books formatted as PDF files can be similar in appearance and layout to a print book, which some people prefer over reading HTML text. 
  • The option to read e-books online without having to download them makes it quicker and more straightforward to access them. 
  • Useful for people who cannot open downloaded files on their device.

PDF download

E-books as downloadable PDF files have the following benefits: 

  • Downloadable PDF files which have been structured for accessibility can be navigated by screen reading software, meaning they are accessible to blind and low vision users. 
  • They also allow the user to benefit from inbuilt accessibility features in PDF reader software such as Adobe Reader. These include: 
    • Enlarging text
    • Reflow
    • Changing font and background colours
    • Text-to-speech functionality

Find out more about PDF accessibility and making adjustments in Adobe Reader.


E-books in EPUB3 format have the following benefits: 

  • The ability to present the final text in a range of ways that can be adapted to suit the user. 
  • EPUBs are created with accessibility in mind and to a set of standards. 

See Text-to-speech reading support for  EPUB-compatible reading tools.

Thank you to the E-book Audit 2016 for allowing us to reproduce and adapt this list.