Your Walkthrough on Getting Signed Up for Bookshare

After posting articles on reading ePub books in the Edge browser, and reading books with QRead, I have received a lot of questions on getting signed up with Bookshare. It turns out that because many of you out there thought reading Bookshare books was cumbersome, signing up for the service wasn’t too high on the list of things to-do. Hopefully this article will change that for you.

Starting the Bookshare Sign Up Process

Once you reach the Bookshare homepage, You are looking for the link called Sign Up Today.

Choose a Membership Type

Now you are on the Choose a Member Type page. You can either sign up as an organization and/or school, or as an individual. This article will focus on the individual process. However, if you are a school or organization, there is a guide for organizations. You can also find out Who can legally qualify for a Bookshare membership. Generally, if you have what’s known as a print disability, then you are eligible for a Bookshare membership.

If you are an individual seeking Bookshare membership, choose the Sign Up Individual option.

Member Qualifications

Here, Bookshare wants to be sure that you can verify that you  really have a print disability. This verification is done via a third party. Examples of qualified third parties are:

  • teacher of the visually impaired
  • special education teacher
  • family doctor
  • ophthalmologist
  • optometrist
  • National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, or similar government body


Bookshare will ask you to agree that you have a qualified print disability, and that you can provide proof of this fact through a qualified authority. You can answer either yes or No here.

Student Status

The next question askes if you are a U.S student. You can answer Yes, No, or I Have an Activation ID. An activation ID would be provided to you through an organization or school. Choosing this option places you in the edit box where you can enter this ID, after which  you can hit the Next button to verify it.

If you answered Yes to the “are you a student” question, you will be asked to provide information about your school. Once you provide the city, state, and zip code of the school, you’ll be shown a table where you can select your school. If you cannot find it, you can enter the school’s information in a form.

If you’re not a student, just hit the Next button and begin filling out your information, such as name, address, and so on. Note that your email address also serves as your user name. Once you fill out all information here, just hit the Next button.

Qualifying Authority

As mentioned above, you will need to verify that you have a print disability. Most of the people I work with use the US-based Talking Book Library. Specifying your nearest NLS Talking Book Library will serve as a qualifying authority. Once Bookshare verifies your status with the library, you will be approved. You can also use a rehab professional such as a TVI or someone at a Lighthouse for the blind.

Final Remarks

Once you complete the sign-up process, Bookshare can take a few days to verify your information. If you are a US student, membership is free to you. Unless you have Bookshare membership through an organization, you will need to pay a $25 signup fee, followed by an annual $50 membership fee.

Bookshare allows me to quickly and easily get access to magazines, newspapers, periodicals, and of course around 700,000 eBooks. It is a wonderful service and I hope it will help you as much as it has helped me through the years.


1 thought on “Your Walkthrough on Getting Signed Up for Bookshare”

  1. Wow, it’s like you read my mind on this one! You’ve mentioned Bookshare before, but like you said it was never very high on the priority list. But it sounds like an awesome service, and I’m definitely gonna check it out! Thanks!

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