Open Bookshare book on iPad in iBooks - EPUB Beta feature

Featured Image: 
iPad screen showing picture of fancy beta fish with the Header "Help us Beta test new features" on Bookshare web page

Bookshare and EPUB: a great combo!


Getting EPUB through Bookshare opens up new options. We know it is not one size fits all when it comes to technology and our students. Each student and environment is different and we need to have alternatives as we look for efficient ways for our students to complete academic and recreational tasks.

In this post I am only looking at how to get a Bookshare book downloaded as EPUB to open in iBooks on an iPad.

Why would a student want to open a book in iBooks?

When we assess the best technology options for our students, we are also looking at the environment and high and low tech alternatives. Reading with iBooks may be a good choice in some situations.

  • It simulates reading a physical book where text is fixed on one page (but you get to choose your font size). This is different than other reading apps that may present text continuously; the reader scrolls up to advance text. Staying oriented and finding one’s place can be challenging with a scrolling text view. The flickering caused by movement of text while scrolling can be disturbing to some students.
  • Many students are reading large print books and even regular print books in class. They do not want the text to speech option. They want to have a similar book experience during shared reading in class.
  • When the technology is familiar to classroom teachers, parents and peers, the student benefits. Classroom teachers and other adults are usually very comfortable with how iBooks works. Some of the specialized apps for people with a visual impairment may be more intimidating or awkward for the classroom teacher to navigate with which could limit natural classroom interactions between student and teacher.
  • iBooks can provide a transition to digital reading for a student who prefers a printed book.
  • The page turn gesture is a simple left or right swipe.

How to:

  1. Go to Bookshare in Safari on the iPad
  2. Log in to Bookshare (I will describe how to if you are logging into a teacher institutional account). Students with individual accounts can do this too, with slightly modified process.
  3. Go to My Account
  4. Select My Beta
  5. Find and click link ACTIVATE EPUB 3 Beta
  6. Follow prompts to ACTIVATE EPUB 3 Beta feature for your browser
  7. Search or browse for a book and click download
  8. When you select the student you are downloading the book for, go to drop down menu on the right for that student and set format to EPUB
  9. Follow prompts to download book
  10. When you are at the screen that shows to status of the book as available click it
  11.  You will get a screen that shows title and option to “open in iBooks” (and another clickable option that says “more”)
  12. Click open in iBooks
  13. Your book opens in the iBooks app

This is a new option I am only just exploring. I look forward to finding out how people use EPUB option.