Procedure for Alternative Format Textbooks

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Alternate Format Texts

Providing access to Alternate format texts is an accommodation that can be requested from Student Accessibility Services (SAS).  SAS has the following procedure for providing approved students with their textbooks in alternative format:

First, you as a student should log in to MaineStreet or the University Bookstore and look up your course books. (If books are not listed, you can try emailing the professor to ask what book(s) they are using.)  Once you know what books you need, you can purchase your books through the University Bookstore or your vendor of choice. While shopping for your books, keep your eye out for audiobooks or accessible eBook versions that might be available for purchase instead of the traditional book format.

Note: Many titles are available through VitalSource.com in accessible e-book format (usually at a reduced cost!)

If you are unable to find an electronic option for purchasing your book, you can request an electronic copy though Student Accessibility Services (SAS). If you are approved for alternate format texts as an accommodation, SAS can acquire or generate those electronic copies for you.  The process for acquiring an alternative textbook can be very time consuming.  We encourage students to get their requests in as soon after registering for classes for the next 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 served basis.

Proof of purchase of a book is required before an alternative textbook can 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 an electronic file (usually PDF) for your book that can be read aloud using the screen reader program of your choice.  This procedure can take up to seven business days, with possible additional delays from the publisher.  If there are delays SAS will work with you to make arrangements to meet your immediate needs.

If no electronic file can be located, scanning of the textbook will then be required.  You will need to bring in the physical copy of the textbook to the SAS office. Textbooks will then be sent to the print shop to have the binding cut off to facilitate rapid feed scanning.  When scanning is completed and reviewed, a pdf file will be shared with you.  Your book will then be sent back to the print shop to be re-bound with a plastic spiral binding and will be available for pick up within a few days.  As you can see, this process can be time-consuming as well, so the earlier the request is made, the more likely the process can be completed before classes start.

Helpful Hint: We will be available to acquire alternative textbooks prior to each semester. If you want to be sure to have your textbooks prior to the start of the semester, then email your professors and ask them which book(s) 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 and ensure that you have the books in an appropriate format prior to classes starting.

Questions regarding Alternate Format Texts should be directed to:

Merlin Littlefield merlin.littlefield@maine.edu or 207.581.2317

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