Benetech’s Bookshare by the Numbers 2020

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The coronavirus pandemic has set into motion unprecedented change in the education space, and our Bookshare initiative has risen to help address the number one challenge: how do we keep children learning when schools are closed? And how can we ensure that students with disabilities are not left behind?

 To ensure that students with dyslexia, cerebral palsy, low-vision, and other reading barriers can get the books they need to learn, we’ve continued to operate at scale throughout the pandemic. In the months following school closures, Bookshare has seen exceptional growth, with a 169% year-over-year (YoY) increase in signups in March, 283% YoY increase in signups in April, and 128% YoY increase in signups in May.

Moving into the summer, we are fighting to address the combination COVID and summer slide with our #AllInTogether Summer Read-a-thon. To date, we’ve already seen participants read over 110,000 books, and are well on our way to the 200,000 book community goal.

These numbers show the scale at which software can be used to build a more inclusive future, in this case by providing people with reading barriers with a means to read, learn, and access information in ways that work for them. To give you a sense of how we’ve grown, and where we’re headed, here are a few more stats about Bookshare.


Bookshare has delivered over 17,000,000 books to people with reading barriers, transforming how they read and helping them succeed. Whether you read with your eyes, ears, or fingers, Bookshare delivers books that work for you.


Benetech manages over 1.5 million accessible books on the Bookshare platform. In addition to Bookshare’s own vast library of accessible books, we manage the collections of many other accessible libraries, helping them easily get accessible books to their eligible patrons.


There are 880,000 titles and counting in the Bookshare library, including fiction, nonfiction, educational texts, vocational books, and much more. Books come from our publisher partners, our scanning volunteers, and from our own scanning operation. Almost all of those titles available in five reading formats (Audio, Braille, DAISY, Microsoft Word, and EPub) – that’s over 4,000,000 reading options.


Bookshare serves over 800,000+ people with reading barriers. Members span all ages and come from all corners of the world.


From large and urban to small and rural, 38,000 US schools and school districts across all 50 states use Bookshare to serve their students with reading barriers.


Over 900 publishers share our vision for a Born Accessible future. That’s why they send us their files to add to the Bookshare library at the same time they send them to Amazon. If you want to read a book the day it’s released, chances are we’ll have it!


With so many books to choose from, it’s hard to know what to read next! The Bookshare collections development team is constantly adding to the 644 curated, topical collections to highlight different authors and themes. Collections of Common Core Exemplars, accelerated and leveled readers help teachers find and assign books in a snap. Members can explore read alike collections or browse topics such as: “Healthy Habits for Kids”, or “True Crime”.


Large school districts love Bookshare. That’s why 98 out of the largest 100 districts in the United States use Bookshare.


People with reading barriers in a whopping 94 countries and territories are reading in ways that work for them, thanks to Bookshare technology. We’ll make our services available wherever we’re needed. Your country could be next!


Benetech powers accessible libraries in all corners of the world. Across our many library partners, we have books in 63 different languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu. English and Spanish lead the way, but other language collections, such as Arabic, Hindi, and Tamil are growing. Browse the Bookshare library to see what books are available in your preferred reading language. [Note: actual number of languages available for users may vary based on geographic permission restrictions. ]


Benetech partners with 34 libraries to bring accessible books to their community. Those libraries are in the United States— Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington—and across the globe: Kenya, Ireland, Canada, Australia, India, and more. Encourage your local library to sign up!


Every member we add, every download – each one is another book read by someone who couldn’t otherwise access that information. Every single person should have the opportunity to read. That’s why we do what we do.