Winners Announced for 2017 Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award

March 15, 2017

The winners of the 2017 ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing were announced last night.  SAGE of the UK won in the publisher category, and Tiflonexos of Argentina won for its project initiative. The organizations in each category received their awards during the well-attended ceremony held during the London Book Fair at the Olympia Conference Center yesterday evening.

Spanish translation: Anuncio de los ganadores del Premio Internacional a la Excelencia de 2017 del Consorcio de Libros Accesibles

All of the 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.

Comments from the winners

SAGE Publishing are delighted to have won the prestigious 2017 ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing. SAGE Publishing believes passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale. We are dedicated to meeting our customers’ needs and we believe in creating a level playing field by ensuring that our publishing is accessible to all. It is thrilling to have won the ABC International Excellence Award in recognition of our work to improve accessible practices and it will inspire us to work even harder to improve accessibility standards at SAGE and throughout the publishing industry.

Huw Alexander, Digital Sales Manager, SAGE Publishing
Photo: winners
From left to right: Monica Halil Lövblad – Head, Accessible Books Consortium; Huw Alexander – Digital Sales Manager, SAGE Publishing; Catherine O’Connell – Digital and Channel Sales Executive, SAGE Publishing (Photo: Steve Burden).

For us, it’s a point of pride to be among the finalists. We are a project that started out very small, at the time when new technological tools began giving us better options for accessing literature. With very few resources, but strong networking efforts, we have continued to grow and to work on behalf of visually impaired persons to resolve the challenges we encounter  in accessing literature. Today, it’s incredible to have reached this level, to be selected from among projects from around the world. This bolsters our commitment to continue working toward better options for access to literature for all the blind people of Latin America.

Pablo Lecuona, Founder and Director, Tiflonexos/Tiflolibros
Photo: winners
From left to right: Monica Halil Lövblad – Head, Accessible Books Consortium; Gustavo Ramírez – Co-Founder, Tiflonexos/Tiflolibros; Anabella Fazio - Project Coordinator, Accessible Scholarship Books, Tiflonexos/Tiflolibros (Photo: Steve Burden).

Comments from the ABC jury

One of the great pleasures in being on the jury for this year’s ABC International Excellence Awards was to see the extent to which the long-anticipated mainstreaming of accessibility is becoming a reality—and that for some, this is not at all new. The two winners are outstanding examples. SAGE, a leading international scholarly and professional publisher, has been in the forefront, not only in ensuring that it will make all of its content, frontlist and backlist, available in accessible forms, but in building accessibility into its book production workflow so that today, SAGE content is truly ’born accessible,’ ensuring simultaneous access for all.

And the innovative Tiflonexos, creator of an online collaborative free-access library for visually impaired people, was begun by a group of blind friends in Argentina in 1999 and has grown to become a global network that provides more than 50,000 titles, mostly in Spanish, to more than 7,000 blind users and 300 organizations around the world. These two leaders are models of publishing excellence and innovation internationally—exactly the kinds of organizations this Award is meant to recognize.

Bill Kasdorf, VP and Principal Consultant, Apex Content and Media Solutions and ABC Jury Member

Find out more

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.

About the Accessible Books Consortium

The Accessible Books Consortium is a multi-stakeholder alliance, led by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and includes organizations that represent people with print disabilities; libraries for the blind; 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, as was the Starter Kit for Accessible Publishing in Developing and Least Developed Countries 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, the 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, 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 participating libraries in the ABC Book Service.

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