e-book Software Reading Systems

Last updated: February 27, 2014

Notes

The table below describes whether an e-book software reading system…

  • includes built-in text-to-speech (TTS);
  • displays images, scalable vector graphics (SVG) or MathML;
  • provides screen-reader or TTS access to descriptions of images or SVGs;
  • provides screen-reader or TTS access to MathML.

Unless stated otherwise, all of the reading systems below support the display of images. A field containing a dash does not necessarily indicate that a feature is unsupported, but that more research is required to make a determination.

For more information about metadata and image descriptions, read DIAGRAM’s Potential Use of Image Description Metadata for Accessibility and the follow-up addendum, Alternatives, Content Model, New Tools, Dependencies and Updates. Also, read the results of the 2012 DIAGRAM Reading Technology Survey to learn how people who are blind and visually impaired obtain and access reading material.

Adobe Digital Editions2.0

Name, cost OS Source files Built-in TTS Read alt: TTS or screen reader Read longdesc: TTS or screen reader Display SVG Read SVG title: TTS or screen reader Read SVG desc: TTS or screen reader Display MathML Read MathML: TTS or screen reader Misc.
Adobe Digital Editions 3.0; free Windows, OS X PDF; EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0 No TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes No TTS: no; screen reader: no
Adobe Reader XI; free Windows, OS X PDF Yes TTS: yes; screen reader: yes TTS: no; screen reader: no No n/a n/a No n/a
Azardi 26; free Windows, OS X EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0 No TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: JAWS will announce the presence of longdesc; other screen readers will not Yes n/a n/a Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no
Bluefire Reader 2.0; free iOS, Android EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0; PDF No TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no No n/a
BookReader 4.9; $ OS X EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0; others Yes TTS: no; screen reader: yes TTS: no; screen reader: no Yes TTS: no; screen reader: no TTS: no; screen reader: no Yes TTS: no; screen reader: yes
  • Can also open iBooks Textbooks, although these cannot be read with VoiceOver
Calibre 1.21; free Windows, OS X EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0; others No TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no
Cool Reader 3.1.2; free Android EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0; others No TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no No n/a n/a No n/a
Dolphin EasyReader 6.04; free Windows EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0; DAISY; others Yes TTS: yes; screen reader: yes TTS: no; screen reader: yes Yes TTS: no; screen reader: no TTS: yes; screen reader: yes Yes TTS: no; screen reader: yes
  • MathML is displayed using the MathPlayer plug-in
Google Play Books; free Windows, OS X (browser-based) EPUB 3.0; others No TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no No TTS: n/a; screen reader: no
iBooks 1.01; free OS X EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0; iBooks Textbooks No TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes in EPUB but no in iBooks Textbooks
iBooks for iOS 3.2; free iOS EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0; iBooks Textbooks (on iPad only) No TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes (EPUB only, not iBooks Textbooks) TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes (only iBooks Textbooks, not EPUB)
Kindle Cloud Reader; free n/a (browser-based) AZW via HTML5 Web app No TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no No n/a n/a No n/a
Kindle for iOS; free iOS MOBI, AZW; others No TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no No n/a n/a No n/a
  • Convert EPUB books to AZW or MOBI before reading
Kindle for Mac; free OS X MOBI, AZW; others No TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no No n/a
  • Convert EPUB books to AZW or MOBI before reading
Kindle for PC; free Windows MOBI, AZW; others Yes TTS: no; screen reader: no TTS: no; screen reader: no Yes TTS: no; screen reader: no TTS: no; screen reader: no No n/a
Lucifox 0.9.7; free Windows/OS X (Firefox extension) EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0 No TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes (Windows only) Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no
Murasaki 2.2; $ OS X EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0 Yes TTS: no; screen reader: yes TTS: no; screen reader: no Yes TTS: no; screen reader: no TTS: no; screen reader: no Yes TTS: no; screen reader: yes
NeoSoar 3.1; free iOS, Android EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0; PDF No TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no No n/a
Nook for iOS 3.4.4; free iOS EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0; PDF; others No TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no No n/a
Nook for Web; free n/a (browser-based) EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0; No TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no
Readium 0.9.1; free Windows/OS X (Chrome extension) EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0 No TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes (VoiceOver only) Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no
Scarlett 1.0.4; $ OS X EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0 Yes TTS: no; screen reader: yes TTS: no; screen reader: no Yes TTS: no; screen reader: no TTS: no; screen reader: no Yes TTS: no; screen reader: yes
VitalSource Bookshelf 2.0; free Android VBK; EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0 No TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no No TTS: n/a; screen reader: no
VitalSource Bookshelf 2.5; free iOS VBK; EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0 No TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes
VitalSource Bookshelf 2.5; free OS X VBK; EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0 No TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: no TTS: n/a; screen reader: no Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes
VitalSource Bookshelf 2.5; free Windows VBK; EPUB 2.0.1, 3.0 No TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes Yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes TTS: n/a; screen reader: yes No TTS: n/a; screen reader: no
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