Accessing Digital Books

Digital books are necessary for students with disabilities who find it difficult to read printed material. This includes students with dyslexia and those with a visual impairment.

In Ireland, book publishers are more than willing to share the digital copies of their textbooks for children who need them. However, there is no central repository of textbooks in digital format. This means that parents and schools have to contact each publisher individually.

This can be a daunting task. 

While the process of requesting digital books from publishers is generally similar, each has their own requirements. Also, digital books come in different formats. Two of the most popular formats are e-book and PDF. Depending on the format and the way in which the books have been created by the publisher, they work with different types of technology. 

Below, we have outlined the process to obtain digital books from different publishers in Ireland and the technology required to use their books. 


  • Format: PDF
  • Compatible devices: Desktop/Laptop, Tablet, iPad. NOTE: Their new app is currently under construction. It may work with iPad or tablet.
  • Technology required: PDFs can be read using text-to-speech software.
  • Process: Parents and teachers can email the completed form to [email protected].

Gill Education

  • Format: PDF, E-book
  • Compatible devices: Desktop/Laptop, Tablet, iPad
  • Technology required: PDFs are compatible with most text-to-speech software, including Read&Write Gold, Dragon Naturally Speaking and ClaroRead. E-books can be used through GillExplore e-Book app or on Gill Education's website. NOTE: E-books are not read aloud and cannot be used with text-to-speech software.
  • Process for PDFs: Available for free for students using a read-aloud software or other assistive technologies. Can be requested by submitting the following documents to Sarah McCoy, Production Department, Gill Education, Hume Avenue, Park West, D12 YV96 or emailing [email protected] - Copy of medical certificate or psychologist’s report confirming the student's condition, Signed copy of 'Gill Education Agreement Template for Parents'. Mention titles required on the back of the form. 

Process for E-books: Activation code comes free with books purchased from 2015 onward. For titles published in 2014 or earlier, free e-book code can be obtained by emailing copy of medical certificate or psychologist’s report confirming the student's condition to [email protected]. NOTE: To use the e-book, students need to first register or sign in with their Gill account. They can then activate the e-book.

  • Format: PDF, E-book
  • Compatible devices: Desktop/Laptop, Tablet, iPad
  • Technology required:’s app and online learning platform. NOTE: The app does not have text-to-speech function.
  • Process: Parents who have purchased printed textbooks can request for their PDF version free of charge by emailing the completed form to [email protected]. Teachers can request flipbooks by emailing Sean Towmey at [email protected]. E-book licences are available for purchase on shop site. All secondary printed textbooks come with printed redeem codes for e-books which are included free with the printed book.


  • Format: E-book
  • Compatible devices: Desktop/Laptop, Tablet, iPad
  • Technology required: Edco Learning platform. The platform offers the following features - text-to-speech, highlighting, ability to type on the book, Spotlight (this darkens out all but the paragraph being read).
  • Process: Free e-book code is on the inside front cover of most secondary printed textbooks. If a code is not present this form needs to be completed and sent to the address therein. Edco Learning will then create an account for the student with access to any required Edco e-books.


NOTE: As of now, NCBI offers books only in the areas of literature and reading. These are available to students with vision impairment and those with dyslexia.


1. By default, PDFs usually open in a PDF program like Adobe, and not in Microsoft Edge browser as demonstrated in the video. To open them in Edge, right click on the PDF file, then select the Open with option and then choose Microsoft Edge from the list. Note: This feature can be used even when the computer is not connected to the internet.

2. Not all PDFs may be read aloud by Microsoft Edge in the same way and some may not be read aloud at all. It all depends on how the PDF was created.

Complete and continue