What Happens When I Submit a Book Request?

What happens when I submit a book request?

If you can’t find the book you’re looking for in Bookshare, you can submit a request to have it added to the collection. If your request is on behalf of a U.S. student, it gets added to the Student Request queue, which is maintained by Bookshare’s Collection Development staff. If it is on behalf of a Bookshare member who is not a U.S. student, it gets added to our Wish List, which is handled by our volunteers. Bookshare relies on private donations to fund the cost of processing Wish List book requests.

Our staff reviews all submitted book requests and researches each one to make sure we can locate the book. We will send an email response to your request within a week letting you know if we are able to add the book, if we found it in our collection, or if we need more information from you.

Once we confirm that we are able to add this book to our collection, we first reach out to our publisher partners to add the book via an accessible digital file. If this is not possible, we purchase the print book, typically from book resellers.

Once the book arrives in our office, we manually digitize it then have it proofread and added to the collection, as follows:

STEP 1: Remove the book cover by hand or use a box cutter to separate the cover and spine.

STEP 2: A special machine slices the spine off the book using a high-powered blade. This step transforms the bound book into a stack of loose-leaf pages, which we can then feed into the high-speed scanner. The scanner can scan up to 100 pages per minute, and the page images are combined into a single PDF file.

STEP 3: The PDF file is converted into an editable text document called the “raw scan.” The conversion process uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to convert the image of the scanned page into a page of text. While OCR software can be very accurate, “scannos” (errors resulting from scanning, like typos) can occur. We want to make sure the digital books we add to Bookshare match the print versions.

STEP 4: We send the PDF file and raw scan file to a proofreader who checks each page of the document against the PDF file to match both formatting and content.

STEP 5: Once the proofreader has finished editing the document, they upload it to Bookshare so it’s available for Bookshare members to download in their preferred format.

Bookshare receives thousands of book requests every year, and at any one time, several hundred books are likely in some stage of the process described above. Digitizing and proofreading a book can take anywhere from several weeks to several months, depending on its length and complexity, so we encourage all students and schools to submit book requests for the upcoming school year as soon as possible.