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Ebooks provide a variety of accessibility tools and functionalities. Here you can find an overview of the accessibility features of our collections and how you can take advantage of these to improve your reading experience. 

Ebook platform accessibility

Many ebook platforms provide a range of built-in accessibility options, such as allowing you to change the text size, background and font colour or adapt them for use with screen reading or read aloud software. Below is information about the accessibility features included in some of our most popular ebook databases, as well as their accessibility statements.

BibliU Accessibility statement

  • Full text search available
  • Read aloud - inbuilt text-to-speech feature
  • Magnification - possible to change the text size, font and spacing of text using inbuilt Display Options menu
  • Text reflow - content reflows when magnified
  • Background and font colour - possible to change the page background and font colours

Cambridge Core Accessibility statement

  • Full text download - unlimited whole-book and chapter downloads as PDFs
  • Full text search available
  • Magnification up to 500% with text reflow using plus and minus option on browser

Ebook Central Accessibility statement

  • Full text search available - search for keywords and phrases using the search box labelled "Search within book"
  • Magnification - zoom in up to 300% using the plus and minus buttons in the online reader interface
  • Text font - can change the website typeface and the font of e-book full text to OpenDyslexic in User Profile menu

EBSCO eBook Collection Accessibility statement

  • Full text search available - using the "Search within" feature
  • Magnification - zoom in up to 200% (no reflow in browser)
  • Text reflow - EPUB content reflows within the online reader

O'Reilly Accessibility statement

  • Customise font size, colour scheme, and other typographical preferences from the ebook Reader Settings menu
  • Video player supports closed captioning and adjustable playback speeds
  • Magnification up to 500% with text reflow using plus and minus option on browser
  • Background and font colour - possible to change the page background and font colours to one of seven different dyslexia-friendly colours

VLeBooks Accessibility statement

  • Read aloud - reader has inbuilt text-to-speech
  • Full text search available
  • Magnification - 20 levels of magnification using the built-in zoom function
  • Background and font colour - possible to change the page background and font colours to one of seven different dyslexia-friendly colours

Downloading ebooks

Most ebooks allow you to download a chapter or the entire book. For more information on how to download ebooks, please see our step-by-step guide

See below for details of how to use accessibility features of chapters and ebooks, when downloaded with Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Digital Editions.

Accessibility features of Adobe Acrobat

If you are able to download an ebook or chapter as a PDF, the following features are available within Adobe Reader:

Read Out Loud

  • To activate, go to the Menu and click View, then Read Out Loud
  • Click Activate Read Out Loud
  • Go to the View menu and click Read Out Loud again
  • Choose Read this page only or Read to end document
  • To stop, go to the View menu, then Read Out Loud again and choose Pause or Stop

You can change the default Read Out Loud voice in the following way:

  • Click on Menu and then Preferences
  • Under Categories, click on Reading and go to the Read Out Loud Options
  • Untick Use default speech and select the voice you would like
  • Change the drop-down box to raise or lower the pitch of voice
  • Enter a number in the Words Per Minute box if you want to change the speed of the narration.
  • Click OK.

Turn on Text Reflow

When you zoom in on a PDF the text will run off the side of the screen. This means that you have to scroll left and right to read each line of text, making PDFs difficult to read. Reflow converts the text into one column so that you don't need to scroll when you zoom in:

  • Click on Menu and then Preferences
  • Under Categories, click on Accessibility
  • Tick Always use Zoom Setting and change the drop down box to Reflow
  • Click OK.
  • Close and reopen Adobe

Change page background or text colour

  • Click on Menu and then Preferences
  • Under Categories, click on Accessibility
  • Tick Replace Document Colours
  • Choose Custom Colour
  • Choose Page Background and Document Text colours
  • Click OK.

Adobe Digital Editions

Adobe Digital Editions allows you to download e-books in PDF and EPUB format for offline use. This software does not have its own built in accessibility features, and users are limited to highlighting and bookmarking text as well as adjusting font size and zoom. Instead, Digital Editions uses the accessibility features on Windows and Mac operating systems to provide accessibility, including support for high contrast modes and support for resizing of book text. Digital Editions also offers enhanced keyboard support (with tab navigation, keyboard shortcuts, and high-contrast support). It can also be used with screen readers (text-to-speech), including JAWS and NVDA on Windows and VoiceOver on Mac.

When viewing secured EPUB format e-books in Adobe Digital Editions, users can choose to show or hide page numbers within the full text. These page numbers correspond to those in print versions of the same book. Page numbers can be shown in the following way:

  • To show page numbers, first go to the Reading menu
  • At the very bottom of the menu, choose Show Page Numbers

Links and instructions on how to download Adobe Digital Editions are available on Adobe's website