Best way to read text books on IOS

iOS & iPadOS

Does anyone have a particular app that is best accessible for reading text books? I am looking to purchase my college books on my Ipad but, want to find the best accessible way to do this before making any purchases?

All help is greatly appreciated!



Submitted by Derek on Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I have searched through the forums for this answer but, I receive mixed reviews on Kendal, Nook, and the Ibooks apps thanks again

Submitted by Faerie on Wednesday, August 27, 2014

it really depends on what your looking for. there are a few apps and survices that provide different things. first, learning ally. the nice thing about this survice is that they match the print pages up with the audio content exactly. For example if your looking at the pages in your app, the page 32 will contain exactly the same material of page 32 in print, handy for finding what your teacher is referring to quickly. Also, they do an extremely good job at describing maps and diagrams with great detale. On the downside, the files are often humungous, and the readers do not always sound very good. Then, there's VoiceDream. this could work for you if you are able to get a PDF of your textbook. VoiceDream also works with Bookshare, so if you have access to this you could get your text books that way as well. There are a couple of good things about VoiceDream. First, it easily allows you to select text and highlight it. It is also easy to make a note at any point in the book. For example, in my English class we are required to have a dialectical journel, which means that we take a piece of text and record questions/comments and thoughts that relate to the text. it was easy with VoiceDream to get to the point in the text I wanted, highlight a passage, and add a note. The other awesome thing about VoiceDream is that it has a search feature, so if your looking up that last vocabulary word that you forgot, or wanted to look up something, it would be easy to do. VoiceDream also supports a lot of different file types, including mp3. It also lets you sync with a lot of survices like DropBox. Downside: there are page numbers but they do not match in any way to the print, making them completely irrelivent, so if your teacher goes by page numbers alone you may be in for a little searching. I have not had much experience highlighting and selecting text/adding notes with iBooks or Kindle but I know it can be done. Both of these platforms are very accessible. I hope you find something to read your texts with.

Submitted by Dane on Wednesday, August 27, 2014

iBooks worked well for me. The only downside is that I wasn't able to figure out how to add notes to the text. However, if the book you need is available on iBooks and all you need to do is read, then it's a good choice. Just get used to the search feature because page numbers in iBooks don't correspond to page numbers in print versions of the books.

Submitted by Jesse Anderson on Thursday, August 28, 2014

Like previous posts have mentioned, there are several good possibilities for reading textbooks on IOS. Learning Ally is good if you want good synchronization between the audio and text, and human readers. Personally, I use Voice Dream for most reading on IOS. I read Bookshare titles mostly, but it's also good for reading imported files from a variety of places like dropbox, the web, and Bookshare directly. Voice Dream now also supports audio files and PDF documents.

Kindle is a great option for recreational reading, but can be a problem for textbooks. Since the Kindle app became accessible last year, I have downloaded and read several books with no problem.

Unfortunately, many textbooks may be the exception. If possible, Always download the free sample of a textbook before buying from Kindle. I found many Kindle textbooks to be inaccessible to VoiceOver. After chatting a couple of times with Amazon support, I found that it's not actually Amazon's fault. for whatever stupid reason, some publishers of textbooks are purposely disabling text-to-speech functionality when in their books.

This has been a problem for years with mainstream E-Book services. I remember having the same problem when trying to use Microsoft Reader or a PDF version of a book back in the day. If I remember correctly, publishers stated that allowing audio via synthesized speech would count as a public performance, and could then be counted as reading to multiple people at a time. People might also record the audio and give this recording away to friends for free. Obserd I know... I would love to see this attitude changed, so we can simply purchase and download these books just like everyone else, instead of the sometimes overly complicated way we now get accessible textbooks from publishers.

I haven't tried reading textbooks through iBooks, so I don't know if TTS is disabled in some of these titles too.

Learning Ally and Bookshare with the Voice Dream app are probably your best options.