Procedure for Alternative Format Textbooks

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The process for acquiring an alternative textbook can be very time consuming.  We encourage students to get their requests in in advance of the semester to ensure that the files will be available to them before the start of class.  Alternative text requests can be made at any time—but will be processed on a first come, first serve basis.

Disability Services has the following procedure for providing students with their textbooks in alternative format.

Login to Mainestreet or the University Bookstore and look up your course books.  Purchase your textbooks from the University Bookstore or other vendors.  While shopping for your books, keep your eye out for audiobooks or accessible eBooks that might be available for purchase instead of the traditional book format.

Quick Tip:  If you purchase an eBook, make sure it is accessible and compatible with a screen reader.

Proof of purchase of a book is required before an alternative textbook will be supplied.

Complete the Alternate Text Request Form (supplying our staff with the book’s ISBN, title, author and edition).  Request forms are also available in our offices in the East Annex.

SAS Staff will then try and locate a pdf file for your book that can be read aloud using the screen reader program of your choice.  This procedure can take up to 7 business days, with possible additional delays from the publisher.  If there are delays SAS will make arrangements to meet your immediate needs.

If no pdf can be located, scanning of the textbook will then be required.  Textbooks will have the binding cut off to facilitate rapid feed scanning.  When scanning is completed, a pdf file will be shared with you and your book will be available for pick up a day or so after rebound with plastic spiral binding.

Upon receiving the .pdf you are encouraged to check it against your book in the slight chance that the wrong edition was sent.

Helpful Hint: We will be available to acquire alternative textbooks prior to each semester. If you are anxious to have your textbooks prior to the start of the semester, then email your professors and ask them which book they have selected for their course. Explain that you use Alternative Textbooks and that early purchase of your textbooks enables you to have the SAS office help with your textbooks in advance. This will give you more purchasing options as opposed to waiting for the University Bookstore, which begins selling two weeks prior to the start of the semester.

Questions or concerns related to the Alternative Textbook procedure should be addressed to:

Student Accessibility Services
121 East Annex
University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469-5725