How do I read books with a screen reader?

If you’re using a screen reader, downloading our books in DAISY format is one of the easiest ways to read them on your computer. While DAISY books are made for certain reading programs, you can also open them in your web browser for offline reading. If you're using VoiceOver on a Mac, please read our VoiceOver for macOS Guide.

Download the DAISY Book

First, follow the steps below to download the DAISY file:

  1. Log in to your Bookshare account.
  2. Using the search field at the top of the page, search for the book by title, author, or ISBN number.
  3. Search results are listed as headings, so you may use your screen reader’s heading navigation commands to navigate through the list of results.
  4. Within the search results, select "DAISY Text" from the download format drop-down menu (combo box).
  5. Select the Download button.
  6. On the next page (My History), select the Available link below the status of the book you just downloaded.

Note: if you are using Firefox, Safari, or Chrome, the book should automatically save to your downloads folder at this point. If you are using Internet Explorer, press Alt plus N to view the notifications bar.

  1. Press the Tab key until you hear the Save option, and then press Enter.

Unzip the Book on Windows

All of our books download as .ZIP files, so you’ll need to unzip that book before you can open it. To unzip the book you just downloaded:

  1. Locate the book that you just downloaded. Books are usually saved to your Downloads folder by default.
  2. Select the book folder, then press the Applications key (or press Shift plus F10).
  3. Press the down arrow key to move through the menu until you reach Extract All. Press Enter.
  4. Press Tab until you reach the Show Extracted Files When Complete checkbox and press Spacebar to uncheck it. Press Tab until you reach the Extract button, then press Enter. Now that the book is unzipped, you can delete the .ZIP file in your Downloads folder.

Open the XML File

Finally, follow the steps below to open the .XML file in your web browser:

  1. Open the unzipped book folder and select the .XML file.
  2. Press the Applications key (or press Shift plus F10).
  3. Press the down arrow key until you hear “Open with”, then press the right arrow key to go into that menu.
  4. Press the down arrow key until you hear “Choose default program.” Press Enter.
  5. Press the I key until you reach Internet Explorer.
  6. Press Tab until you reach the Ok button, then press Enter. XML files will now always open in Internet Explorer. In the future, you can simply press Enter on the .XML file to open it automatically in Internet Explorer.

To make sure books read correctly, be sure to keep all DAISY book files in the same folder. Do not move the .XML file to a different folder. 

If you are using JAWS, you may also consider opening our books in FSReader, a reading program that is bundled with JAWS. For instructions on opening a book in FSReader, please review our page on Opening a Book in FSReader.