Alternative Formats

Alternative Formats for textbooks & course materials

The Office for Disability Equity collaborates with Accessible Technology Services at Information Technology (IT) to provide eligible students with alternative formats for course materials. Alternative formats include accessible (text-based) PDF, EPUB, Braille, and plain or rich text.

How to request alternative formats

Students approved for alternative formats may request conversion services from Accessible Technology Services.

Submit a request through UM Solution Center

Questions about conversion services

Accessible Technology Services
Social Sciences Building Room 120

IT OCR Converter Service

The Information Technology offers the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) document converter service to convert image-based PDFs to text-based Word documents.


EPUB is the industry standard for digital publication. EPUB provides a high degree of accessibility and optimizations. Users can change the color, font size, background color of the display, and the book will reorganize itself on a device. EPUB can be read on most Android, Apple, Windows devices, and other ebook readers such as Kobo, Nook, and Sony Reader. Note that Amazon Kindle is not compatible with EPUB. 

How to find eTextbooks in EPUB

The VitalSource Bookshelf app comes with text-to-speech, search and navigation, and study tools. 

Other popular reading apps 
DAISY Consortium's Inclusive Publishing has reviews of popular reading apps including Digital Editions, Edge, and iBooks
Thorium Reader (free) for PC 
Dolphin Easy Reader (free) for iOS and Android 
Voice Dream Reader (iOS) 

When interim accommodations required while waiting for alternative formats

If the university cannot convert the book within 10 business days of receiving the file or cutting the book, the Accessible Technology Services notifies the students so that the student can consider asking for interim accommodations. Students should work with their coordinator to obtain interim accommodations. Examples of interim accommodations include:

  • A reader from the Office for Disability Equity. 
  • Requesting a reasonable extension of the course deadline for an assigned reading from the instructor.