Embossing Bookshare Books

There are two options for accessing embossed Bookshare books: embossing books yourself or ordering embossed books from an outside company.

Embossing Books Yourself

If you or your school has the equipment to emboss books yourself, Bookshare can provide the files you need.  We generally recommend using Duxbury, but any braille embosser will work in a similar fashion.  

There are three steps to downloading an embossable version of Bookshare books:

  1. Set download preferences to BRF format
  2. Download the book
  3. Extract the book from the downloaded zip file

Once the BRF file is extracted to your computer, you can open the BRF file with Duxbury or another braille embossing program:

  1. Open Duxbury, select the File menu option, then select Open.
  2. Browse for the folder on your computer containing the BRF book, then double click or press Enter to open it.
  3. The book will open and display the text in braille.

Once the book is opened in Duxbury, select the Emboss menu and begin embossing your book into hard copy braille.

Ordering Embossed Books

Bookshare does not provide hard copy books. If you do not have the tools to emboss Bookshare books, you may contact a company that will emboss them for you.

Embossed braille books can be ordered from TechAdapt Inc. When you're ready to order an embossed book, please email the book's title, author, and ISBN number to sales@techadapt.com. Only books that Bookshare has listed as “excellent” or “publisher” quality can be embossed. TechAdapt Inc. will respond to your email with  embossing options and pricing information.

Note: Textbooks from the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) as well as newspapers and magazines have restricted access and cannot be embossed. Please contact the American Printing House for the Blind with questions about obtaining books from the NIMAC in braille. For more information about the American Printing House for the Blind, please visit www.aph.org.

Setting BRF Preferences

Individual Members

  1. Log in to your Bookshare account at www.bookshare.org.
  2. Select the My Account link.
  3. Select the Edit Preferences link.

Under the Download preferences heading, you'll find several BRF options, including BRF size and format, braille grade, and BRF file extension.

BRF Size and Format:

Please choose Embossable Braille under this setting if you will be embossing a book. You may leave all Refreshable Braille Grade Display settings set to default. Choose the number of cells and lines that is appropriate for whichever braille embosser you have.

Braille Grade:

Here you can set whether you want contracted (grade 2) or uncontracted (grade 1) braille in your books. You may also set whether you’d like Unified English Braille (UEB) files or English Braille, American Edition (EBAE).

BRF File Extension:

Please leave this as the default setting, .zip.

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Sponsors on Organizational Accounts

  1. Log in to your Sponsor account at www.bookshare.org.
  2. Select the My Bookshare link.
  3. Select the Add or Update Members link.
  4. Click or press Enter on the last name of the member for whom you will be embossing books.
  5. Under the Member's Download Preferences section, review the settings related to BRF files.
BRF Size and Format:

Please choose Embossable Braille under this setting if you will be embossing a book. You may ignore any Refreshable Braille Grade Display settings here. Choose the number of cells and lines that is appropriate for whichever braille embosser you have.

Braille Grade:

Here you can set whether you want contracted (grade 2) or uncontracted (grade 1) braille in your books. You may also set whether you’d like Unified English Braille (UEB) files or English Braille, American Edition (EBAE).

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Downloading Braille Files

Note: Please download BRF files using a computer or Braille note-taker. Do not try to download BRF on a tablet or smartphone when following these steps.

Individual Members

  1. Log in to your Bookshare account at www.bookshare.org
  2. Locate a book using the search box, or select My History to view a book you've downloaded in the past.
  3. Select the title of the book.
  4. Select BRF from the download format combo box, then select the Download button.
  5. You'll then be taken to your My History page. Select the Available link located under the book's status.
  6. If asked to open or save the file, select Save and choose a location, such as the Desktop or Downloads folder.
  7. If not asked to open or save the file, the file will download to your default download folder.

Note: Most web browsers save files to the Downloads folder by default.

Sponsors on Organizational Accounts

  1. Log in to your Bookshare account at www.bookshare.org.
  2. Locate a book using the search box. You can also open recently downloaded books from My History or My Reading Lists.
  3. Select the title of the book.
  4. Select the Download button.
  5. Check the box next to the name of the member for whom you will be downloading the book.
  6. Select the BRF format from the combo box located to the right of the member’s name.
  7. Select the Download Books button.
  8. On the next page, confirm your download selections by selecting the Download button again.
  9. You'll then be taken to your My History page. Select the Available link located under the book's status.
  10. If asked to open or save the file, select Save and choose a location, such as the Desktop or Downloads folder.
  11. If not asked to Open or Save the file, the file will download to your default download folder.

Note: Most web browsers save files to the Downloads folder by default.

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Extracting (Unzipping) Files

After downloading a book and saving it to your computer, please do the following:

Windows Users

  1. Select the .zip book file.
  2. Choose Extract All from the File menu. 
  3. Choose a location for saving the files.

Mac Users

  1. Locate the zip file in the Downloads folder.
  2. Open the file, and it will automatically extract and create a folder containing the book.

Inside the newly-created folder will be a book with .brf at the end of the file name. 

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