Take Control! Overriding publisher layout for improved accessibility in your ebooks… including sideloading!

Presented at 2:00pm in WB II on Friday, November 22, 2019.



  • Rick Johnson, Co-Founder and Vice President of Product Strategy, VitalSource Technologies, LLC

Session Details

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


While your ebook may have the needed accessibility markup, what you need may be a different layout, color scheme, or font to help improve the readability for dyslexia or other needs. Come learn how the latest VitalSource Bookshelf puts these and other controls into the users hands.


Publisher traditionally put significant effort into the layout features of their ebooks, and while this works for many learners, sometimes you need greater controls over your content. Come learn how the latest version of VitalSource Bookshelf enables users to control more than just the text size, but change the font (including one designed for dyslexia), color mode, margins, line heights, and more, as well as support sideloading your personal EPUB files to take advantage of these features.


  1. User control of content layout to improve readability
  2. EPUB sideloading of your content
  3. multi platform support with accessibility support

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, EPUB Track, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Rick Johnson

Rick Johnson is the Vice President of Product Strategy, and one of the founders of VitalSource Technologies, Inc. Now a division of the Ingram Content Group, VitalSource is the maker of Bookshelf®, the most widely used platform for delivery of electronic textbooks in the world. As VP of Product Strategy, Rick manages the strategic direction of the fast growing platform, guiding the architecture, and implementation of its clients and systems.

Rick's career has been focused on bringing together his three passions: technology, publishing, and education. He is a frequent speaker on electronic textbooks, their integration into an institutional environment, and how the accessibility needs of individual students can best be accommodated in their delivery. He has served on multiple committees addressing the needs around delivering accessible content to students, was a member of the working groups responsible for version 2 and version 3 of the EPUB standard, currently serves on the board of directors for IMSGlobal (https://www.imsglobal.org/boardofdirectors.html) and the IDPF (https://idpf.org/about-us/leadership), and is the co-inventor of 3 domestic and international patents dealing with electronic books and their distribution.

Prior to Ingram and VitalSource, Rick spent more than 12 years with Apple Computer, Inc. As a Senior National Consulting Engineer for them he was instrumental in the implementation of complex solutions for many higher education and corporate customers, and received numerous national and international awards.

A graduate of the communication and business departments of Biola University in 1984, Rick has lived in the Phoenix area with his family since they moved from Southern California in 1991. Married to his wife Susie for more than 30 years, together they have raised two children, and are very active in their church and community. Rick also serves on the board of directors for several non-profit ministries.