ABC Snapshots – News from the Accessible Books Consortium

June 30, 2016

It is two years ago today that the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) was born. And we are delighted to be able to celebrate with the news that Canada's accession today to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled has brought the number of accessions/ratifications to 20 – the magic number required to trigger the Treaty's entry into force in three months time. Read the full report in this WIPO press release.

Latest highlights

  • The ABC’s TIGAR Book Service has so far facilitated the loans of accessible books to 79,000 people through its 19 participating libraries.
  • Six major publishers’ associations have signed the ABC Charter, which promotes the production of “born accessible” works.
  • Our capacity-building activities in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka benefitted over 23,500 students in 2015. The second phase starts in July with funding from the Governments of Australia and the Republic of Korea, the Skoll Foundation and the United Nations Foundation – we hope to benefit some 88,500 students who are print disabled in these four countries.
Nidhi (in yellow), and a classmate in Bihar province, India, learning how to use their smartphones to read accessible textbooks produced in an ABC technical assistance project. Nidhi lost her eyesight in an accident when she was six. (Photo: WIPO)

Recent events

Over 300 stakeholders attended the Take Part Conference in Stockholm in May 2016 to exchange information about human perspectives on inclusive publishing.

WIPO’s Monica Halil Lövblad spoke at the conference about how ABC is having a positive impact on people’s lives.

ABC Head, Monica Halil Lövblad, speaking at the Take Part conference in Stockholm.

Growth of the ABC Book Service

The ABC Book Service (TIGAR)  - a global online catalogue of books in accessible formats hosted by WIPO - now has 19 participating libraries in 16 countries, and contains 315,000 titles in more than 55 languages. 

"I cannot begin to tell you what a difference you are all making in her life. Losing her sight so quickly had her depressed and angry. Hearing her laughing and having her rush to tell me which books arrived in the mail is like interacting with another woman. You should all feel very proud of what you do and the daily difference you make in so many lives!"

– Letter sent on behalf of a reader who is print disabled to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, about books loaned via the ABC Book Service.

Capacity-building – new opportunities in Latin America and Africa

We are currently inviting project proposals from African NGOs working with people who are print disabled.  The application deadline has been extended to July 31, 2016. For more information contact   

The ABC is also exploring opportunities for capacity-building projects in Latin America.  We provided a seminar on accessible book production techniques, held in Panama in June 2016 during the Regional Workshop on the Marrakesh Treaty, which was attended by representatives from 19 Latin American national associations for the blind.

Regional Workshop in Panama. Front row from left: Pedro Milliet – ABC Board member, Moisés Bauer Luiz – Brazilian National Association for the Blind, Marcos Alves de Souza – Ministry of Culture of Brazil, Graciela Peiretti - National Directorate of Copyright of Argentina, José Veira - Argentine Federation of the Blind.(Photo: Dirección Nacional de Derecho de Autor, Panamá)

Inclusive publishing – new resources

We released two guides in 2016:

Background on ABC

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 blind, have low vision or are otherwise print disabled.  It was launched in June 2014 as a complement to the Marrakesh VIP Treaty.  

You can find the latest ABC Factsheet in English, French and Spanish on our website and follow us on Twitter via @ABCbooks4all.