Read with Smart Speaker

Senior woman using smart speaker at home.

Bookshare reader logo

Read what you want, where you want.

You can listen to Bookshare Books on your Alexa-enabled smart speakers and devices.

Step 1: Enable the Bookshare Reader Skill

  1. If you are new to using an Alexa enabled device, download and install the Alexa app onto your device and sign in with your Amazon account.
  2. Find the Bookshare Skill by searching for "Bookshare Reader" through the “Skills and Games” link on the Alexa App, on the Alexa Skills page on the Amazon website or by voice command to your Alexa-enabled device

  3. Select the "Launch" button.

  4. Link your Bookshare account to the Bookshare skill by selecting the “Settings” button, then the “Link Account” link.

  5. Enter your Bookshare username (Email address) and password, then select the “Sign In” button. You will receive confirmation that your account is successful linked. You are now ready to listen to books on your Alexa enabled device.

Step 2: Getting Audio Books for Alexa to Read

The Bookshare Reader skill creates and uses a Reading List called "Amazon Alexa". By adding audio books to this reading list, you make them available for the Bookshare skill to find.
There are two ways to put audiobooks on the Amazon Alexa Reading List:

  • Ask the skill to get a book you’ve recently accessed on another device (your history.)
  • Search for books on Bookshare.org and add them to the reading list
Get books from your history
  1. Launch the Bookshare Reader by saying, “Alexa launch Bookshare Reader” or “Alexa Open Bookshare Reader.” The first time you launch the skill, Alexa will respond with "Welcome to Bookshare Reader” it looks like you don't have any audio books available to read. Go to the Bookshare website and add books to your Amazon Alexa Reading List or say ‘Get My History’ to read from your recent downloads."
  2. Say “Get My History.”
    Alexa will read you a list of books that you have previously downloaded or read on another device and ask which one you would like to add to the Amazon Alexa Reading List.

  3. Say the name of the book and she will respond, “Okay, I’ve added <book title> to your reading list. Would you like to read it now?
  4. Say “yes” to begin reading. When the audiobook is ready, Alexa will say “Okay, let’s read” and the book will begin. Note that there may be a delay when you first open a new book. 
  5. You can also remove books from your reading list by saying "Remove [book title]"
Add New Books to the Amazon Alexa Reading List

At this time, searching for new books is not yet available through the Bookshare skill, but you can add any book to the Amazon Alexa Reading List on the Bookshare website. These books will then be accessible from the Bookshare skill by saying “Alexa, list my books.”

  1. Log into your Bookshare account on the Bookshare website. From your My Bookshare page, select the “My Reading Lists” link. Here you will find the Amazon Alexa Reading List.

  2. To add books to your Alexa Reading List simply search the Bookshare collection to find a book you want to read, then select the “Add to Reading List” link.

  3. Next, select the “Amazon Alexa” Reading List from the dropdown menu.

Note:  Not all books in the Bookshare collection are available in audio format, either because they are not well-formatted, are too large, or have too many images.  It is a good idea to check in the Download drop-down menu to make sure the book is available in audio format before putting it on the Alexa list.  If there are multiple copies of a book provided by different publishers, you might try a different version.

Step 3: Using the Bookshare Reader Skill with Alexa

Open a Book

  1. Ask Alexa to launch the Bookshare skill by saying:
  • “Alexa, launch Bookshare Reader” or
  • “Alexa, open Bookshare Reader”

Alexa will respond with "Welcome to the Bookshare Reader skill for smart speakers. If she doesn't find any books on your Amazon Alexa Reading List, she will tell you to add them to your list on the Bookshare website. See Step 2 above, Getting Audio Books for Alexa to Read

  1. Note: Alexa doesn't always recognize "Bookshare Reader" immediately as a skill. If she directs you to Audible, try launching the skill again, perhaps speaking more slowly, or use the term "launch" instead of "open". Also, you may want to make sure the language on the device is set to "US-English". Once she recognizes the skill, this should no longer be an issue.
  2. You can ask Alexa to read a book or list your books with the following commands. When she asks what you want to do, say:
  • "Read a book"
  • "Read [book title]"
  • "List my books"

Change Reading Speeds

You can also ask Alexa how fast she will read and to change the speed. Note: you will need to change the speed before starting the audio player. Once the audio player begins, you will need to stop reading to change the speed.) When she asks what you want to do, say:

  • "What's the reading speed?" or "How fast are you reading?"
  • "Read faster"
  • "Read slower"
  • "Read at 125%" (Reading speeds range from 50% to 300%.)

Enjoy listening to your book!

Alexa Commands

"Read a book"

"Read [book title]"

"List my books”

"Alexa pause" - stop reading

"Alexa resume" - continue reading where you left off

"Alexa skip" or "Alexa next" - skip to the next section

"Alexa back" or "Alexa previous" - go back to the previous section

"Alexa stop" - exit the Bookshare skill. To reinvoke the skill, you will need to say "Alexa open Bookshare"

“Alexa help” or “Alexa tutorial” – to learn how to use the Bookshare skill.