Bookshare Reader: A New beginning for Accessible Reading with Bookshare

Handouts Media

Presented at 11:15am in Virtual Room 1 on Thursday, November 18, 2021.



  • Charles LaPierre, Principal, Accessibility and Content Quality Architect, Benetech
  • Hema Natarajan, Product Manager, Benetech

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


Bookshare's "Read Now" functionality is getting a brand-new online reading system that leverages the latest technology, allowing for a feature rich and accessible reading experience including fully supporting MathML in Bookshare books. Come see the new Bookshare Reader in action.


It's been almost a decade since Bookshare's WebReader has undergone any major development. Rebuilt from scratch the new Bookshare Reader will leverage the latest open-source technology while continuing to offer a feature rich experience for Bookshare customers.

Additionally, new Bookshare Reader will be the first fully integrated reader with Bookshare to fully support the reading of MathML in Bookshare books.

Bookshare Reader is an online reading system that runs on all the latest PC and Mac browsers. This session will highlight the new features as well as the roadmap for future development.


  1. Bookshare Reader the new and improved online Book reader for Bookshare customers.
  2. Bookshare Reader will be a fully integrated reader with Bookshare supporting the reading of math.
  3. A ubiquitous reading experience for PC, Mac, and mobile.

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Mobility, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Alternate Format, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Charles LaPierre

Charles LaPierre, Benetech: Principal, Accessibility Standards, and Technical Lead, Global Certified Accessible. Charles has over 25 years’ accessibility development experience and has been a pioneer in accessible product development since 1993. Charles currently a member of the following W3C Working Groups: Publishing Working Group, MathML Refresh, ARIA, APA / Personalization Task Force, as well as a member of the EPUB3 W3C Community Group, and co-chair of the Accessibility Metadata W3C Community Group. Charles is the technical architect of the new Global Certified Accessible initiative at Benetech to certify publisher content as conforming to the new EPUB 1.0 Accessibility Specification. Charles has a bachelor's and master's degree in Electrical Engineering from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Hema Natarajan

Hema Natarajan is a product manager with Benetech where she is part of the Global Literacy team and manages the Bookshare Reader Suite and Accessibility Engine line of products. Hema is passionate about forging equity in literacy and through her current role at Benetech, she is working towards making accessible STEM materials available to all students who need them. Prior to Benetech, Hema has spent more than 12 years building various products at companies like Microsoft and Facebook. Hema holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Engineering from CIT.