WIPO’s ABC Welcomes 100th Entity Joining the ABC Global Book Service

October 8, 2021

WIPO’s Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) is pleased to announce that the ABC Global Book Service hit an important milestone recently with the Pancyprian Organization of the Blind of Cyprus becoming the 100th member to have joined the Service.  This is a significant indicator in ABC’s efforts to increase the number of accessible books available to people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled worldwide. 

The ABC Global Book Service is an online catalogue of books in accessible formats that are contributed by participating libraries for the blind from around the world, known as Authorized Entities or AEs.  The catalogue offered to participating AEs currently contains more than 650,000 titles in 80 languages available for cross-border exchange, free of clearance formalities under the terms of the Marrakesh Treaty.  Fostering relationships with new members drives the expansion of the ABC Global Book Service, thereby increasing both the number of accessible titles available and the number of potential beneficiaries of the Service.  Participating AEs of the Service delivered over 90,000 accessible digital files from the ABC catalogue to persons with sight loss and print disabilities in 2020. 

We are delighted to be able to join the ABC Global Book Service and are looking forward to the prospect of searching and obtaining many books which are currently not available to us.  Gaining access to a catalogue of this size and caliber will create many opportunities for our patrons and we hope that others will be able to benefit from our catalogue as well.

Mr. Christakis Nicolaides, President of the Pancyprian Organization of the Blind
Graphic design of open books flying through space
(Image: WIPO)

While the main ABC application is a library-to-library service (the “AE application”), ABC launched a Supplementary Application earlier this year as a complement to its AE application, both of which are provided for free.  This Supplementary Application is proposed to participating AEs as a tool that they can provide to persons who are print disabled. 

The Supplementary Application is a catalogue available for public searching, which gives the participating AEs’ patrons the ability to query and immediately download accessible format copies of titles contained in the Supplementary Application.  Currently, 23 AEs have agreed to the ABC Terms & Conditions for the Supplementary Application. 

As ABC continues its work to address the global book famine, it looks forward to continued collaboration with existing AEs and to establishing new partnerships throughout the world.  To learn more about the ABC’s recent activities, read the 2021 Report on the Accessible Books Consortium presented in the framework of the Assemblies of Member States, taking place this week. 


According to a 2018 World Health Organization estimate, approximately 253 million people are blind or visually impaired world-wide.  More than 90% of these are resident in developing countries, where the World Blind Union (WBU) estimates that people who are blind have only a one in ten chance of going to school or getting a job.  A lack of accessible books remains a very real barrier to getting an education and leading an independent, productive life.  The WBU estimates that less than 10% of all published materials can be read by blind or low-vision people. 

About ABC

The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) is a public–private partnership led by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that brings together all of the key players – organizations representing people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled, authors, publishers, collective management organizations, libraries and other authorized entities, as well as standards bodies.  ABC was established in June 2014 to implement the goals of the Marrakesh Treaty.  Through an effective international alliance of relevant state and non-state actors, ABC seeks to increase, and distribute, the number of books worldwide in accessible formats - such as Braille, audio, e-text and large print. 

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About WIPO

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the global forum for intellectual property policy, services, information and cooperation.  A specialized agency of the United Nations, WIPO assists its 193 member states in developing a balanced international IP legal framework to meet society's evolving needs.  It provides business services for obtaining IP rights in multiple countries and resolving disputes.  It delivers capacity-building programs to help developing countries benefit from using IP.  And it provides free access to unique knowledge banks of IP information