Accessible Books Consortium

Finalists Announced for Accessible Books Consortium’s 2017 International Excellence Award

February 8, 2017

The finalists for the 2017 ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing were announced today.  The six short-listed organizations come from all corners of the globe.

The ABC Award recognizes two categories: one for publishers and one for project initiatives. The winners in each category will be announced at the awards ceremony to be held at the London Book Fair on the evening of Tuesday, March 14, 2017. The six finalists are:

Publisher category:

  • Picsterbooks, South Africa
  • SAGE Publishing, U.K.
  • VitalSource Technologies, U.S.

Project initiative category:

  • Jisc, U.K.
  • Tata Consultancy Services, India
  • Tiflonexos, Argentina

Nominees were judged on the criteria of outstanding leadership or achievements in improving the accessibility of books or other digital publications for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled.  In particular, ABC encourages nominations of companies, organizations or individuals that are based in developing or least developed countries.

Comments from the jury

The ABC award jury, which is comprised of publisher representatives, organizations working in the field of accessibility, and persons who are visually impaired, noted the high-quality and value of the accessibility work being undertaken by the nominees. 

The Head of ABC, and jury chair, Ms. Monica Halil Lövblad, highlighted that the 2017 nominations originate from a diverse number of countries – this is a clear reflection of the global recognition and fundamental importance of producing accessible books for people who are print-disabled. 

A global problem

Some 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired according to the World Health Organization (2014). More than 90% of these are resident in developing countries, where the World Blind Union estimates that people who are blind have only a one in ten chance of going to school or getting a job. The lack of accessible books is a very real barrier to getting an education and leading an independent, productive life.

Last year’s winners

Last year’s ABC award winners were Elsevier in the publisher category; ADRAD, an NGO from Nepal, and the DK Braille Concept Development Team (part of Penguin Random House) won in the project initiative category.

Dr. Alicia Wise and Dr. Marcia Balisciano of Elsevier (video: London Book Fair).
Dr. Alicia Wise (left) and Dr. Marcia Balisciano (right) of Elsevier discuss their winning the ABC International Excellence Award in 2016 (video: London Book Fair). 

About the Accessible Books Consortium

The Accessible Books Consortium is a multi-stakeholder alliance, comprising the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO); organizations that represent people with print disabilities, including the World Blind Union; libraries for people with print disabilities; and organizations representing publishers and authors, including the International Publishers Association and the International Authors Forum. The ABC aims to increase the number of books worldwide in accessible formats – such as braille, audio and large print – and to make them available to people who are print disabled.

ABC carries out activities in three areas to fulfill its mandate, namely:

  • Inclusive Publishing – activities to promote accessible book production techniques within the commercial publishing industry so that e-books are usable by both sighted people and those with print disabilities. Accessible eBook Guidelines for Self-Publishing Authors were launched last year and six national publishing associations have endorsed the ABC Charter for Accessible Publishing. Past winners of the ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing include Elsevier, Cambridge University Press, DK Braille Concept Development Team (part of Penguin Random House), YPSA of Bangladesh and ADRAD of Nepal.
  • Capacity Building– training and technical assistance in developing and least developed countries for local NGOs, the Ministries of Education, and commercial publishers who want to produce and distribute books in accessible formats.
  • ABC Book Service  (i.e., TIGAR) – a global library catalogue of books in accessible formats that enables libraries serving the print disabled to share items in their collections, rather than duplicating the costs of converting them to accessible formats. Over 100,000 people with print disabilities have borrowed accessible books through the participating libraries in the ABC Book Service.

For further information, please visit the ABC website or send us an e-mail.

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