Alternate Text Format


When determined to be an appropriate accommodation for a student with a disability, the university will assist the student in identifying and obtaining academic materials in an accessible format. Timely completion of the procedure outlined below is key to ensuring timely provision of accommodations. Publishers can take weeks to respond to OAA requests for alternate formats.


Individuals requesting textbooks in alternate format should first attempt to obtain accessible copies of textbooks, if available, through the following locations:

  • VitalSource – On-line retailer, claims to have over 90% of course texts in use today.
  • Bookshare – Free membership for qualifying members.
  • Learning Ally  – Provides unlimited access to their digital library of accessible audio textbooks.
  • Calibre – Comprehensive e-book viewer, free.
  • The UNC Asheville Bookstore – UNCA’s bookstore already offers many texts in e-text as an option. With 4 weeks or more notice most texts that aren’t already available as e-text can be converted and made available.
  • Internet Archive: Books for People with Print Disabilities

Can’t find an accessible copy?

  • Students requesting alternate formats should provide the following information: ISBN number title, author, publisher, and edition.
  • Individuals must submit proof of purchase/rental before the alternate format can be provided by OAA.
  • OAA works with publishers to obtain electronic formats of textbooks or produce them in-house. Individuals may then use text to speech assistive technology such as Read & Write
  • Individuals may also use Read & Write in University computer labs to scan and convert texts at any time throughout the semester.
Alternate format materials are for individual use only and may not be shared. Duplication of materials is prohibited!


Alternate Format for Electronic Material

Individuals requesting electronic material to be converted to alternate format (e.g., accessible PDF) should bring electronic material to the OAA on a USB drive. OAA will convert and save the alternate format back to the student’s USB drive.

Additional Alternate Format Resources

Electronic Format of Textbooks Procedure

For non-rental textbooks individuals should first attempt to purchase accessible versions of textbooks, if available.

Once approved by OAA for alternate format, students are encouraged to contact the course instructor or the University Bookstore to obtain the following information for each textbook: title, author, publisher, edition, and ISBN number.

To request an electronic format individuals may use the resources listed above. If unable to independently locate this information, the student may request assistance from the OAA. OAA contacts publishers to obtain electronic format versions, or permission to convert, therefore early submission of requests is vital to ensure timeliness of material. Please allot three weeks, or 21 days, when possible. If the publisher is unable to provide an electronic format, OAA will contact individuals to discuss alternative options.

After obtaining electronic format from OAA, individuals may use assistive technology such as text-to-speech or screen magnification to read the material. Alternate format materials are for individual use only and may not be shared; any duplication of materials is prohibited.

Alternate Format of Other Materials

In general, faculty members are responsible for providing alternative formatted material for student use. The OAA may be of assistance in converting articles, booklets, manuals, etc. to be converted to alternate format (e.g., accessible PDF). If an accessible version is not readily available, OAA will contact students to discuss alternative options.

For all other requests, students should contact OAA directly.