Free and Low-cost Braille Books

Free hard-copy braille books

Temple Beth El Braille Book Bindery

Individuals may choose from many Braille books in either contracted or uncontracted Braille. The volunteers of Temple Beth El Sisterhood provide these books at no cost, but they welcome donations of Braille paper, Braille binding supplies, and money to support this mission.

Seedlings Braille Books for Children’s 2022 Book Angel Program for V-I Children

Through this program, blind/low vision U.S. children ages birth through 21 may order up to three (3) free braille books per year.

Braille Institute

Special Collection

Blind/low vision children in the U.S. and Canada may order up to 2 Dots for Tots® kits two times per year (targeted at ages 2-5, but open to all—might be great books to read to younger family members, neighbors, etc.).

Digital Dots

Books available for download in BRF (Braille Ready Format).

Lending Library

The Braille Institute also offers a lending library and offers books in hard copy braille and in digital format. There is no charge for eligible individuals, and books are shipped via Free Matter postage.

ShareBraille

An online resource provided by the American Action Fund (AAF) to connect with others who have Braille books to give away. Search the site which has thousands of books listed, and request a book. The current owner will then send it to you via “Free Matter” through the U.S. Post Office.

Free Braille Books Program from the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults (AAF)

Hard copy braille books. 2022 series include:

  • The Potts-Abilities Series, Morris Flip Sound Machine, by Liz Cooper
  • I Survived Series, by Lauren Tarshis – 6 titles from her 21 title series
  • History Smashers, by Kate Messner – 5 titles from her 7 title series

NFB Kernel Books

Stories by and about blind individuals, edited and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind. Available for digital access as HTML files.

Xavier Society for the Blind

The Xavier Society for the Blind offers hundreds of texts on religious topics (Catholics) at no charge to patrons. You may become a patron by calling (212) 473-7800 to register for their services. The website notes: “All of our materials are provided at no cost, and there is no fee to sign up. We look forward to hearing from you!”

Low-cost braille books

BRL—Beulah Reimer Legacy

Very reasonably priced, high-quality Braille-print picture books. Great for learning braille as a teen with books you grew up loving and for braille readers taking care of younger children.

Seedlings Braille Books (for purchase)

Seedlings has a wide variety of braille books for purchase (after you get your three free Angel books—see above). Here are the categories of Seedlings books:

  • Print-Braille-and-Picture Books in Uncontracted Braille, in UEB
  • Print-Braille-and-Picture Books in Contracted Braille, in UEB
  • Print-and-Braille Books in Uncontracted Braille, in UEB
  • Print-and-Braille Books in Contracted Braille, in UEB
  • Contracted Braille in UEB
  • Shorter Fiction in Contracted Braille, in EBAE
  • Longer Fiction in Contracted Braille, in EBAE
  • Poetry in Contracted Braille, in EBAE
  • Nonfiction & Biographies in Contracted Braille, in EBAE

National Braille Press (NBP)

NBP has a variety of titles including some not available anywhere else, including technology guides for blind/low vision individuals, cookbooks, recreational reading, books in Spanish and English, and more.

Additionally, NBP’s Children’s Braille Book Club offers a great way to build a Braille book library. For an annual subscription of $100, NBP will send one print/Braille book per month. When my child began elementary school, I convinced the school library to get a subscription. It was a great opportunity to bet new books into the library, and the print readers loved those books too!

Read How You Want

Read How You Want is a commercial publisher of accessible books, and available formats include Braille and DAISY digital books. While this publisher is located in Australia, prices are in U.S. dollars, and the variety of titles includes many that are not common in the U.S.

Other sources for braille books

American Printing House for the Blind (APH)

While APH books are not necessarily low in price, schools have funds that can only be spent at APH. In addition to textbooks and early learning books, APH offers books with tactile graphics that can be helpful in science and other classes.

The Braille Bookstore

The Braille Bookstore offers many titles in hard copy braille for all ages, including adults.

Braille Library & Transcribing Services, Inc.

This group offers braille in three ways:

  1. Lending library with more than 2,000 titles for children and adults. “There is no charge for borrowing our books; just tell us your name and contact information and we’ll get you started.”
  2. Purchasing library books.
  3. Transcribing books upon request (fee for this service).

Categories include:

  • Adult Fiction
  • Adult Non-Fiction
  • Children’s
  • Cookbooks
  • Crafts
  • Print/Braille
  • Textbooks

Bookshare Student Guidance

Which students qualify for free subscriptions underwritten by OSEP?

The U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has funded access to Bookshare for all qualified U.S. students in K-12, post-secondary, graduate and continuing education classes.

“Students” for OSEP funding include enrolled in classes that meet each of the following conditions: (1) are offered by an educational institution, (2) are on-going for a period of at least a month, and (3) are part of a course of study or curriculum that follow a named set of course-work. Both in-person and distance education classes are included.

What kind of “classes” count for OSEP funding?

Some examples of qualifying classes include:

  • Classes that lead to a degree or certificate
  • Professional development courses
  • Guide dog classes
  • Computer training classes
  • Hadley School distance education classes

Examples of activities that don’t qualify:

  • Short courses (less than one month duration)
  • 1:1 tutoring or training
  • Non-academic courses such as an exercise classes

How do you get an individual account if the student already has an institutional account?

If the student already has a student login to Bookshare from his/her institution (school), it is easy to add an Individual Membership. By following this method, your student will have easy access to books assigned by the teacher as well as individually-downloaded books. As explained in this video, you’ll simply have your student:

  1. Log in to Bookshare (using his/her student login)
  2. Select the “Upgrade to an Individual Membership” link from the left menu on the My Bookshare page.
  3. Select the link to “sign up” and complete the online form (parent or guardian must complete the form if the student is under 18).

Once this process is completed, the student will be able to search for and access books of their choice. Please be aware that the student will now have full control over his or her username and password.

You may also access these directions in this video tutorial on “upgrading” a student’s institutional account to a full individual membership.

Sign Up for Bookshare

Bookshare is a service that provides accessible books to qualifying individuals (with one or more of the following conditions: Visual impairment, including blindness, Learning disability that affects reading, Other physical disability). In order to get Bookshare, an individual must be certified as having a qualifying disability.

Bookshare is free for K-12, post-secondary, and a rehabilitation program students in the U.S. Other qualifying individuals must pay a $50 yearly fee (unless they have another organization providing free Bookshare access).

If your child qualifies for a Bookshare account but does not have one, there is no reason to wait any longer. Below, you will find all the information you need to complete an online application for a free Bookshare account for your qualifying child. You will need a Competent Authority in order to get a free Bookshare account (for blind/low vision individuals Bookshare states that “Competent authorities include school and district personnel such as teachers of the visually impaired or special education teachers; medical professionals such as ophthalmologists, optometrists, family doctors; other authorities such as AT specialists, rehabilitation counselors, etc.”).

  1. Go to Bookshare and begin the application process. You will find an outline of all the questions that will be asked in this blog post: “How to Sign Up for a Bookshare Account Online
  2. Download “Individual_Proof_of_Disability.”
  3. Complete “Step 1” of the Individual_Proof_of_Disability (at the top of page two).
  4. Save “Individual_Proof_of_Disability” as a Word document.
  5. Ask a “Competent Authority” to complete the “Individual_Proof_of_Disability” as a PDF and return it to you.
  6. You may then upload that document to Bookshare.

How to Sign Up for a Bookshare Account

  1. Go to Bookshare’s Member Sign-up page
  2. If yes wish, you may watch Bookshare’s Video Tutorial: How to sign up as an Individual Member
  3. Below, you will find an outline

Member Qualification (first page)

I confirm that this account is for a person with a Print Disability, and will be able to provide Proof of Disability from a competent authority. 

Yes

No

Student Status

Is this person a U.S. student?  

Yes

No

I have an Activation ID    Activation ID

School Information

Look up my school

This student is home schooled

Student Information (second page)

Fields marked with * are required. Please enter information about the person who will be using Bookshare. If that person is under the age of 18, only the persons parent or legal guardian may accept the terms of the Bookshare Agreement.

School

Student First Name *

Student Last Name *

Country *

Address line 1 *

Address line 2

City *

State/Province *

Zip or Postal Code *

Phone

Birth Date (mm/dd/yyyy) *

Grade Level *Plans

If this person has neither of the following plans, please leave the checkboxes blank.

Current IEP issued by a public education agency

Current 504 Plan

Parent/Guardian Information

Parent/Guardian First Name *

Parent/Guardian Last Name *

Parent/Guardian Email

Parent/Guardian Phone

Address is the same as member’s address

Yes

No

Login Information

Your username for logging into Bookshare will be the email address you enter below. If you forget your password, an email will be sent to this address to reset it.

Member Email (Username)  *

Confirm Email *

Password (8-32 letters or numbers, at least 1 letter and at least 1 number)  *

Confirm password *

Additional Information

How did you hear about Bookshare?

Proof of Disability (third page)

If you are a member of another organization serving people with print disabilities (NLS or Learning Ally), that may be used for Bookshare Proof of Disability (POD). Otherwise, you will need to provide a POD form signed by a competent authority such as a doctor or disability specialist.

How do you want to submit your proof of disability?
POD Form

[Link to Download POD Form

You will need to provide a Proof of Disability (POD) form signed by a competent authority such as a doctor or disability specialist. Learn More

Take this form to your competent authority for their signature, then upload it to your Bookshare account.]

NLS Membership ?

[NLS Membership POD

NLS Member Name *

Address *

City *

State *

Zip Code *

Email Address *

NLS Regional Provider *

Don’t know your NLS provider? Click here for a list (of NLS providers).

I certify that I receive services from the NLS network of cooperating libraries (National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped) and give permission to Bookshare to verify this with them.

I understand that this process may take 3-5 business days and that I will be contacted about my status when Bookshare has received a response from NLS.]

Learning Ally Membership ?

[Learning Ally POD

Full Name *

Address

City

State

Zip Code

Email Address *

Learning Ally Member ID

If you don’t know your Member ID, enter your email address.

I certify that I receive services from Learning Ally and give permission to Bookshare to verify this with them.

I understand that this process may take 3-5 business days and that I will be contacted about my status when Bookshare has received a response from Learning Ally.]

Skip this step, I’ll provide my proof of disability later

Promo Code Information (fourth page)

To sign up for a free account through a partnership or funding organization (such as a library), Bookshare will need to provide the organization with your name and information.

Yes, I agree

Promo Code

If you do not wish to have your information shared with the partner organization you will be responsible for the cost of your subscription ($50.00).

No, I am a U.S. Student, or I will pay for my own membership

Applicant’s Digital Signature

Listed below are some of the most important aspects of the Bookshare Individual Membership Agreement. By accepting the agreement, you are agreeing to the complete Terms and Conditions of this agreement.

The Accessible Media is only for use by the person with a bona fide print disability.

I acknowledge that Accessible Media cannot be shared with other people.

There are consequences for copyright violations, including termination of this account.

 I acknowledge that I am digitally signing the complete Terms and Conditions of this agreement.

 I acknowledge that I am the parent or legal guardian for this person.

Name

Date  

[Create account button]