Bookshare Privacy Policy

Bookshare® is a nonprofit website dedicated to providing accessible books and other materials ("Content") to people with print disabilities. We collect personal information about our users in order to deliver a better service and to meet our legal obligations under the copyright law. Users include our Members with print disabilities, volunteers, school and organizational staff, access technology professionals and parents. We do not provide commercial entities with this personal information for commercial or marketing purposes. This Privacy Policy is intended to fully inform you about our uses of the information we collect.

Personal Information

Under the copyright law exception that allows Bookshare to provide copyrighted material to people with print disabilities, Bookshare must receive proof of a print-related disability for each user that wishes to download or receive copyrighted Content, as well as the user's name, address and whether or not the user is a minor. We will also request other contact information, such as e-mail address and telephone number. We will use this information for the following purposes:

  • To communicate general information about Bookshare services to Bookshare users.
  • To communicate with Bookshare users about their account status, renewal, and any problems with their account.
  • To share qualification data with other nonprofit organizations serving people with disabilities, to streamline the process of verifying eligibility for services.
  • In the case of minors, to limit access to Content coded as adult Content.
  • To investigate and support legal proceedings concerning alleged abuse of the copyright laws.

In addition, we may contact the agency or individual that provides the verification of a qualifying disability to ensure that the legal requirements of the service have been met. We will not sell or otherwise provide this contact information to commercial entities.

Financial Information

Bookshare is a subscription service. As such, it will be necessary for those wanting to become full Members to pay a membership fee using a credit card or other financial instrument, or have their fees paid by a third party (for example, U.S. students and schools are currently paid for by the U.S. Department of Education). This financial information will be maintained confidentially by Bookshare and its authorized third party billing services, and only used for user-authorized fee transactions. Information shared with these authorized third party billing services includes credit card number and expiration date. Users may have the option to choose automatic renewal options.

Download Transaction Information

Bookshare will also maintain transaction logs of the materials downloaded by its users. We will use this information for the following purposes:

  • To flag usage that is potentially in violation of our terms of use or the copyright law.
  • In cases of suspected abuse where copyrighted Content has been made available to unqualified individuals, to trace copyrighted Content back to the user using the user-identifiable information embedded in downloaded Content.
  • To provide users with information about the Content downloaded under their accounts.
  • For organizations, provide detailed reports on Content downloaded by their staff, and provide summary information for Content downloaded by individual users who are affiliated with that organization (such as a school, or a state education agency interested in aggregate usage data in the state)
  • To gather statistical data about usage patterns for the improvement of the Bookshare service.
  • Possibly, to provide suggested content based on the users’ past reading patterns.

We will not provide access to any third parties to the information contained in our transaction logs, except in connection with investigation of or for actual legal proceedings concerning potential abuse. We will not share personally identifiable information about an individual’s frequency of use or reading habits with the referring agency or individual, except aggregate Content usage including types of books will be available to the sponsoring organization. Usage information about accounts such as school accounts shall be available to the person(s) responsible for those organizational accounts.

Upload & Review Transaction Information

As part of its efforts to build and improve the Bookshare collection, Bookshare accepts uploads of Content, accessibility improvements (such as image descriptions) and reviews of books and of particular versions of books from its qualified users, organizations and volunteers. Bookshare will maintain transaction logs of these activities, and will use this information extensively. Users are not required to provide such uploads. Specifically, Bookshare will use this information:

  • To track the quality of uploads and reviews by users, organizations and volunteers, and may identify the uploading person with the Content on the website, and may also publicize particularly high quality uploaders of Content or reviewers.
  • To track uploading activity in violation of copyright law or Bookshare policies, such as content that is not represented correctly, incomplete content, content from other eBook suppliers and so on.

It may be possible that another service can be accessed via a link on the Bookshare site, or via the Bookshare Application Programmers Interface (API). We will not provide specific information about an individual to any such service reached through a link. However, it is possible that the linked service may receive information that a link on Bookshare was used to access their site. It is also possible that such a non-Bookshare site may collect personal information on its site. If you choose to use an assistive technology product that is accessing Bookshare through our API, such a product will have access to your account and transaction information. Bookshare is not responsible in any way for information provided or used by sites or products not under its control.

Receiving Information from Us

Users may choose to "opt out" of receiving newsletters or other promotional materials from Bookshare. In addition, users may unsubscribe to any of our electronic mailings at any time by following the instructions at the end of every mailing. Users may contact us to "opt out" of receiving materials from Bookshare. Users cannot opt out of receiving information from us about their accounts.

Surveys & Contests

Our site may request information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and individuals therefore have a choice whether or not to disclose this information. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and shipping address), and demographic information (such as zip code). If we conduct a contest, contact information will be used to notify the winners and to award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the use and user satisfaction of this site.


Protection of users information is important to Bookshare. When users submit sensitive information via the website, that information is protected both online and off-line.

Online Protection - Encryption Technology

When our registration form asks users to enter sensitive information, that information is encrypted before transmission and is protected with the standard encryption software in the industry - SSL. While on a secure page, such as our registration page, the lock icon on the bottom of Web browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Microsoft Internet Explorer becomes locked, as opposed to un-locked, or open, when you are on a page that is not secure. Web browsers can also be set to alert you if you are on a page that is secure, which is an alternative method for individuals who use screen readers to access web pages. This icon may not always appear when you are viewing encrypted pages on the site due to the use of multiple frames. However, the information you provide will be encrypted before transmission. To ensure that SSL technology is active, you must use an SSL-enabled browser such as Mozilla Firefox 1.0 or higher (2.0 or higher strongly recommended) or Internet Explorer 3.0 or higher (7.0 or higher strongly recommended). If you have questions regarding security with your specific browser, please refer to your browser's help files or documentation.

Off-Line Security

All of our users' information, not just the sensitive information mentioned above, has restricted access in our offices. Only employees who need the information to perform a specific job (for example, a customer support representative) are granted password-protected access to personally identifiable information. Furthermore, ALL employees are kept up-to-date on our security and privacy practices.


The privacy and protection of children is of great importance to Bookshare. For this reason, individuals who are less than 18 years of age will need the permission of a parent or other legal guardian to join. This parent or legal guardian may be entitled to information about the usage of the minor Bookshare user. In addition, material which has been rated as having adult Content will not be available to those under 18 years of age without specific permission from a parent or legal guardian.

Use of Cookies and Analytics

This website may set cookies (as described below) for your web browser as you visit our websites or use our products. The Bookshare website may use cookies for a number of purposes, including remembering your login information, analytics, interface preferences and your last place in a given piece of Content.

The Bookshare website uses Google Analytics, a web analytics service provided by Google, Inc. (“Google”). Google Analytics uses “cookies”, which are text files placed on your computer, to help the website analyze how users use the site. The information generated by the cookie about your use of the website (including your IP address) will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States. Google will use this information for the purpose of evaluating your use of the website, compiling reports on website activity for website operators and providing other  services relating to website activity and internet usage.  Google may also transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google’s behalf. Google will not associate your IP address with any other data held by Google.  You may refuse the use of cookies by selecting the appropriate settings on your browser, however please note that if you do this you may not be able to use the full functionality of this website.   By using this website, you consent to the processing of data about you by Google in the manner and for the purposes set out above.

Shared Responsibility

Security is a shared responsibility of Bookshare and all Bookshare site users, who have the capability to enhance the security of their own accounts:

  • Do not allow others to use your password.
  • Change your password regularly.
  • Select unique and non-obvious passwords which are different from your sign in email address.
  • Sign out when you've completed your Bookshare session.

Of course, this security is dependent upon users protecting their account information and access to their computer while signed in.

Use of Data

The content information uploaded to Bookshare by users is available for Bookshare to utilize for the support of our nonprofit mission. The primary limitation in our use of this information is based on our legal obligations, as we assess them in our reasonable judgment. Our uses of uploaded content information may include, but are not limited to, sharing the information with other nonprofit or for-profit organizations, licensing the information for other nonprofit or commercial uses and transferring the operation of the Bookshare service to a for-profit entity. If the operation of Bookshare is legally transferred to another entity, all user data may likewise be transferred. Revenues obtained from the provision of the Bookshare service or from other uses of the uploaded information are exclusively for the use of Bookshare’s nonprofit parent organization, and may be used to support Bookshare, related projects or other nonprofit objectives as it sees fit and as permitted by applicable laws.

International Use

Bookshare provides content to international users, only through explicit permissions from publishers and authors, and/or applicable national laws. We will do our best to comply with EU Privacy Rules and will not knowingly provide any personal information in violation of these Rules.

Notification of Changes

If we change our Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our website so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users through an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner.

Privacy Policy version updated as of January 15, 2013.