Accessible Books Consortium (ABC)

The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) is a private/public partnership led by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It includes organizations that represent people with print disabilities such as the World Blind Union (WBU); libraries for the blind; standards bodies, and organizations representing authors, publishers and collective management organizations.

Our goal is to increase the number of books worldwide in accessible formats - such as braille, audio, e-text, large print – and to make them available to people who are blind, have low vision or are otherwise print disabled.

Contact us
Illustrative image of braille text
(Image by Roland DG Mid Europe Italia, via Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

ABC Factsheet

Read our Factsheet to get a quick overall idea of what ABC does PDF, ABC Factsheet, English.  Also available in French PDF, ABC Factsheet, French and Spanish PDF, ABC Factsheet, Spanish.

What services do we offer?

Person reading large format text on a laptop
(Photo: WIPO)

ABC Global Book Service

ABC Global Book Service is an on-line catalogue that provides libraries for the blind with the ability to search and make requests for accessible digital books. This international “library-to-library” service allows participating organizations to supplement their collections from their counterparts in other countries free of charge.

Photo of the ABC International Excellence Award
(Photo: Steve Burden)

Accessible publishing

ABC promotes the production of “born accessible” works by publishers, that is, books that are usable directly from the publisher by both sighted persons and people who are print disabled. We provide guidelines on how to produce “born accessible” works and we present an annual award for outstanding achievements in the field of accessible publishing.

Photo of two women using a DAISY reading device.
(Photo: Piyush Arora and National Association for the Blind (Delhi))

Capacity building

ABC provides training and technical assistance in developing countries in the production and distribution of books in accessible formats. We also provide funding for the production of accessible educational materials in national languages at the primary, secondary and university levels.

Girl with headphones using an adapted laptop
(Photo: WIPO)

Websites offering accessible books

We maintain a list of links of online sources of accessible books, organized by country.  The selection includes both libraries and commercial providers.

The legal framework

The Marrakesh VIP Treaty makes possible the production and transfer of accessible books across national boundaries. This landmark Treaty was adopted on June 27, 2013 by the member states of WIPO, and came into force on September 30, 2016 after ratification by 20 of those states.  ABC is one initiative to implement the Marrakesh VIP Treaty at an operational level.

Voices from the floor of the Inaugural Marrakesh Assembly (October 2016)

Frederick Schroeder, the President of the World Blind Union (WBU) speaking at the Marrakesh Assembly
Watch the video of Frederick Schroeder on YouTube

"Without books to share, the dream of equal access will remain an unfulfilled dream. The Marrakesh Treaty is much more than a treaty about books. It is an historic human rights instrument."

Frederick Schroeder, President, World Blind Union (WBU)
Maria Soledad Cisternas, (in translation), Chair of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
Watch the video of Maria Soledad Cisternas on YouTube

"The CRPD is quite clear that the Marrakesh Treaty will contribute to the full inclusion of people who are visually impaired or otherwise print disabled."

Maria Soledad Cisternas, Chair, Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
Gopal Mitra, Programme Specialist – Children with Disabilities, Disability Section, UNICEF speaking at the Marrakesh Assembly
Watch the video of Gopal Mitra on YouTube

"[…] while blind and visually impaired children will benefit directly from the Marrakesh Treaty, the environment of accessibility that will be created will also have significant positive effects for all children with disabilities."

Gopal Mitra, Programme Specialist – Children with Disabilities, Disability Section, UNICEF

Who's involved in ABC?