Texas Tech University

Accessible Book Options

Student Disability Services (SDS) recommends following the steps below if you are a student needing books in electronic format that are compatible with text-to-speech software.

Option 1: The textbook may be offered as an e-text through Bookshare. Bookshare is an accessible online library of various textbooks and other popular reading material. A student can browse the Bookshare database to see if a textbook is available without having a membership. However, in order to utilize Bookshare as a member, you must meet with your SDS counselor and create an account with them.  You will not be granted an account until you have met with your counselor.  

Bookshare logo with blue and orange "pages" of a book flipping open in a semicircle

Option 2: Amazon Book Store or Chegg Books. If the book you are needing is not available on Bookshare, students should check for an electronic copy of the book on Amazon.com or Chegg.com.  Most books are available to buy or rent electronically on these sites.  If the book is available on one of these sites, students are encouraged to buy/rent them and use the screen reader of your choice to read them.

Amazon logo with black background white lettering and an orange curved arrow and Chegg Logo with orange background and white lettering

Option 3: Contact your SDS Counselor. If the book is not available on Bookshare, Amazon or Chegg, the student should contact their SDS counselor and let them know.  SDS will then look into other resources to see if the book can be purchased or rented electronically.  SDS counselors will contact students to let them know the outcome of their search.

Option 4: Conversion and Kurzweil/Kurzweil Firefly. If the student has exhausted all other options, then SDS can offer the electronic version of textbooks using Kurzweil/Kurzweil Firefly. The student must first purchase the necessary textbooks, fill out the Book Request Form in the SDS office, and provide SDS with a receipt of that purchase. SDS will then scan/convert the books to an electronic version. Make sure you purchase the textbook and do not rent the book. If SDS already has the book on file, it could be a 24-hour turnaround time, or it may take from 72 hours to one week if SDS has to unbind, scan, and re-bind the textbook. In either case, once the book is scanned and ready, SDS will upload the textbook to the student's Kurzweil account (where he/she will have a virtual bookshelf to access textbooks). Instructions to download Kurzweil software, for both PC and Mac, are available below. Students will be able to access Kurzweil online from anywhere and can benefit from installing the software to their personal computer. Also, the Firefly app can be downloaded to the student's tablet. Furthermore, SDS will set up each student's Kurzweil account, and the student should get an email from Kurzweil with instructions on how to activate the account in the online system.

Kurzweil education logo with a 3D cube in grey, yellow, green and blueMore options: Students may decide to download the free online screen reader called NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access). NVDA is designed for a PC user; however, if you use a Mac, there is also an accessibility feature that allows for reading aloud, called Voice Over. Another option is the EasyReader app and software for Windows, iOS, and Android that allows you to listen and read with synchronized text and audio.

Instructions for Kurzweil & Bookshare

Kurzweil releases free updates of their software once a month, so if you have not updated your Kurzweil 3000 Web client software in a while, you can check for the latest updates on the Kurzweil website

You might also try the Kurzweil Read the Web extensions. They are powerful tools to research, read online curriculum, Google Forms/Docs. You can install the extension for Chrome or the extension for Mozilla Firefox.

Kurzweil is constantly updating their support documents and videos on their resource webpage. To learn more you can read "Getting started with Kurzweil 3000.

Kurzweil 3000 Version 16 Installation Instructions for PC

If you already have version 16 installed, you can check for the latest updates on the Kurzweil website.

If you have version 13, 14, or 15, please follow the below steps:

  1. First, uninstall the original program by searching for it in your PC's search engine, right-clicking it and clicking Uninstall.
  2. Go to the Kurzweil download website
  3. Select the link Version 16 (subscription/web license) and allow the file to download. Open it.
  4. Click Run. In the window that pops up, click Install.
  5. In installation window, choose Web Licensing Software.
  6. Next window, click Install Web Licensing Software.
  7. On welcome screen, click Next.
  8. Read license agreement, choose “I accept the terms…”, and click Next.
  9. In the customer information window, type your name for the user name and Texas Tech University for the organization name.
  10. In the Setup Type screen, choose Complete, and click Next.
  11. In the Ready to Install screen, click Install.
  12. In the Guest Login Account screen, click Skip.
  13. You should then have a window that states “Installation Wizard Complete”, click Finish.
  14. When your computer asks to restart, click Yes.

Once your computer restarts, you are ready to go.

You should see the shortcut for Kurzweil 3000 on your desktop, double click this icon to open Kurzweil.

When prompted, enter user name and password.

  • In order to receive a username and password directly from Kurzweil you MUST have an account setup through the SDS office.
  • You do not need to change the License type; just click OK.

To Use Kurzweil After Installation: (ALWAYS BE CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET)

When Kurzweil is open, click File, then click Open from Universal Library and open the file you wish to have Kurzweil read.

Firefly app

Firefly appFirefly is the corresponding iPad app for student Kurzweil subscriptions obtained through Student Disability Services. You can download the Firefly app from the iTunes store.

Kurzweil 3000 Version 16 Installation Instructions for Mac

If you already have version 16 installed, you can check for the latest updates on the Kurzweil website.

IMPORTANT: Before installation, make sure you are connected to the Internet! Also, DELETE your old Kurzweil before installing the new Kurzweil.

If you have version 13, 14, or 15, please follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the Kurzweil download webpage
  2. Click the link for Version 16 (subscription/web license). Click Save File. Wait for download to complete, window to appear.

    Screenshot of step 1
  3. Fix system preferences > Open system preferences > Select “Security & Privacy"
    Click padlock in lower left corner to unlock. Allow apps downloaded from “Anywhere”.
    Click padlock in lower left corner to relock.

    Screenshot of step 2
  4. Drag the Kurzweil 3000 icon into your Applications folder and/or Desktop folder.

    Screenshot of step 3
  5. Double-click “Kurzweil 3000” in the Applications folder. A screen prompt will pop up. You will proceed to use your username and password provided to you in the email from Kurzweil.

    Screenshot of step 4
  6. Account Setup. You must have a Kurzweil account setup with the SDS office in order to receive your user name and password from Kurzweil. Do not change the license type.

    Screenshot of step 5
  7. You should now have a working installation of Kurzweil 3000. Read the initial instructions for more information on how to use Kurzweil 3000. To open files from the Universal Library click File > Open from Universal Library > Choose your personal folder > Then select the book and chapter you'd like to read.

    Screenshot of step 6

Firefly app

Firefly appFirefly is the corresponding iPad app for student Kurzweil subscriptions obtained through Student Disability Services. You can download the Firefly app from the iTunes store.

Create an Account with Bookshare

Bookshare should be the FIRST place you look for books in electronic format. Student Disability Services will NOT scan your books until you have first checked Bookshare's depository.

  1. Go to Bookshare.org
  2. Click the big "SIGN UP TODAY" button on the home page.
  3. Select "Sign up Individual" then check the following boxes verifying you have a disability and are over or under the age of 18.
    • I (the individual with qualifying disability) am 18 years old or older
    • I am (or my child is) under 18 years of age
    • 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.
  4. Press continue.
  5. SKIP the Activation I.D. and Promo Code boxes.
  6. Fill in your personal information.
    • Since you are in college leave the "Plans" portion blank. You no longer have a 504 or IEP.
    • Agree to the membership terms.
  7. Click Create Account.
  8. You will now be given the option to print out your PROOF of DISABILITY FORM.
  9. Print this form and bring it to the Student Disability Services office for a counselor to sign.

*Note: You will NOT be able to use Bookshare until your account is complete. You must have a counselor from Student Disability Services sign the Proof of Disability form, and you will then email the form to Bookshare to complete your account.

Student Disability Services