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Alternate Format Texbooks

The Alternate Format Coordinator helps students with perceptual disabilities to get their required textbooks in alternate formats.

The Copyright Act of Canada defines a perceptual disability as:

“a disability that prevents or inhibits a person from reading or hearing a literary, musical, dramatic or artistic work in its original format, and includes such a disability resulting from:

  • severe or total impairment of sight or hearing or the inability to focus or move one’s eyes,
  • the inability to hold or manipulate a book, or
  • an impairment relating to comprehension”

The process for alternate format conversion can take several weeks from start to finish. It is recommended that whenever possible students begin the process 6-8 weeks before beginning a semester.

Six to eight weeks before a semester begins, students are asked to begin the alternate format conversion process.

Three initial steps are involved in accessing material in alternate formats.

  1. Students regularly checking the bookstore website for their textbook requirements.
  2. Instructors informing the bookstore of their textbook selections as early as possible.
  3. Students contacting the Instructor, or, departmental secretary to request the necessary textbook information if it is not available on the bookstore site. Once a student knows what they will need to have converted they may begin by searching online for the necessary materials.

Many important pieces of information about required textbooks are available on the bookstore website and one of the most important is who publishes the book.

It is important because several publishers will have alternate format copies of required books readily available and that would be the best place to begin the search.

If you don't feel that you need a hard copy of your textbook, you may find that you are able to save money by purchasing only an e-version of your textbook (depending upon the publisher).

If you have searched and are not able to find the required books, it is time to contact SAS.

Once students have tried to acquire books independently, if there are still some that require conversion they are asked to contact the SAS Alternate Format Coordinator ( to discuss their needs.

  • Before being able to request materials the Alternate Format Coordinator will require information for each book required (this can be printed directly from the bookstore site) 
  • The Alternate Format Coordinator will also require proof of purchase for any requested book
  • When we have received your textbook from the publisher, you will receive an e-mail from the Alternate Format Coordinator with instructions for pick-up
  • Any books not available in alternate format will be requested by the Alternate Format Coordinator through the PrintShop on campus
  • Once the request is made the PrintShop will e-mail students within 2-3 business days that their material is available to be picked up