Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award 2016: Winners Announced

April 13, 2016

The winners of the 2016 Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing were announced during a popular awards ceremony at the London Book Fair last night.

In the publisher category, Elsevier took top honors, whilst the Action on Disability Rights and Development (ADRAD), an NGO, and the DK Braille Concept Development Team (part of Penguin Random House) won in the project initiative category.

All three organizations were recognized for providing outstanding leadership and achievements in advancing the accessibility of commercial e-books or other digital publications for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled.

The International Publishers Association is very proud to be a partner of the Accessible Books Consortium and the ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing. My heartfelt congratulations go to this year’s winners: Elsevier, ADRAD and DK, for their tremendous achievements and contribution to improving people’s lives through accessible book formats." Mr. José Borghino, Secretary General of the International Publishers Association and a member of the selection jury

High caliber competition

Monica Halil, Head of ABC, commented on the high quality of the nominees this year and praised all three winners for their commitment to bettering the reading experience of people suffering from vision loss or dyslexia. Elsevier of the United Kingdom, which came out on top in the “publisher” category, was recognized as a world-leader in the development, promotion and implementation of best practices in accessible publishing.

Michele Woods (center), Director of WIPO's Copyright Law Division, with Dr. Alicia Wise (left) and Dr. Marcia Balisciano (right) of Elsevier (Photo: London Book Fair)

In the project initiative category, ADRAD of Nepal and the DK Braille Concept Development Team of the United Kingdom tied for first place. ADRAD’s Chairman, Mr. Birendra Raj Pokharel, who travelled from Katmandu to attend the ceremony in London, remarked how important this award was for the ADRAD team and for the work being done on behalf of people who are visually impaired in Nepal. Mr. Pokharel, who is blind, also noted that the award served as a wonderful encouragement to continue ADRAD’s work in the field of accessibility, particularly in light of the difficult conditions arising from the devastating earthquake that took place in April 2015.

Michele Woods, Director of WIPO's Copyright Law Division (center), with Fleur Star (left) and Jemma Westing (right) of the DK Braille Concept Development Team (Photo: London Book Fair)
Michele Woods, Director of WIPO's Copyright Law Division (left), with Birendra Raj Pokharel of ADRAD (Photo: London Book Fair)

The DK Braille Concept Development Team was recognized for its new series of children’s tactile reference books designed specifically for younger blind and visually impaired readers. The books contain large print, braille and full-color images that have had a range of tactile effects applied to them.

About the Accessible Books Consortium

The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) is a multi-stakeholder alliance led by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). ABC includes organizations that represent people with print disabilities; libraries for people with print disabilities and organizations representing publishers and authors. 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 recently launched and six national publishing associations have endorsed the ABC Charter for Accessible Publishing. The first ABC accessibility excellence awards were presented at the London Book Fair in April 2015 to Cambridge University Press and the Young Power in Social Action of Bangladesh.
  • Capacity Building – training in developing countries for local NGOs, government departments, and commercial publishers who want to produce and distribute their 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 58,000 people with print disabilities have borrowed accessible books through the 15 participating libraries in the ABC Book Service.

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