Accessible Books Consortium Announces Winners of 2018 ABC International Excellence Award

April 11, 2018

Hachette Livre, France and the DAISY Forum of India are the winners of the 2018 ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing, which was announced at the awards ceremony held at the London Book Fair.  Hachette Livre won in the publisher category, and the DAISY Forum of India won in the initiative category.  A record number of award nominations was received by the Accessible Books Consortium this year, coming from 11 different countries and representing four continents, making this a truly international award.

The nine-person selection jury, made up of representatives from publishers, organizations working in the field of accessibility, and organizations representing persons who are visually impaired, was unanimous in its decision this year to give the awards to Hachette Livre and the DAISY Forum of India for their outstanding leadership and achievements in improving the accessibility of books and other digital publications for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled.

Publisher category

Hachette Livre was commended by the selection jury for its implementation of “born accessible” production processes in the EPUB3 format and for its implementation of mandatory accessibility conformance testing for all of its trade publications through the use of the recently created “Accessibility Checker for EPUBknown as Ace. When its accessibility features are used correctly, EPUB3 is the gold standard in the publishing industry for the production of accessible digital books.

Making e-books as accessible as possible for print disabled people is a goal that Hachette Livre has been pursuing over several years, both in evolving its own end-to-end production processes and in sharing awareness among all the actors of the e-book supply chain.

Luc Audrain of Hachette Livre, France
Luc Audrain
Picture of Luc Audrain of Hachette Livre (left), France, winner of the 2018 ABC award, publisher category and Kevin Fitzgerald of WIPO (Photo: Richard Orme)

Initiative category

Picture of Dipendra Manocha of the DAISY Forum of India (right), winner of the 2018 ABC award, initiative category and Kevin Fitzgerald of WIPO (Photo: Richard Orme)

The DAISY Forum of India, a network of over 100 organizations, was recognized for its work on behalf of people who are print disabled.  The selection jury recognized DFI for its launching of India’s largest collection of online accessible books called Sugamya Pustakalay in August 2016, which for the first time created a centralized repository of all accessible books available in the country. 

This award is an acknowledgement of the collective effort and the joining of forces of the Government of India, industry and civil society to end the book famine for the economically, geographically, socially and linguistically diverse group of people in India who are print disabled.

Dipendra Manocha, President, DAISY Forum of India.

The award was presented to Mr. Dipendra Manocha, President of the DAISY Forum of India (DFI), who lost his sight at the age of 11, and who is one of the key players in pushing the accessibility agenda both in India and globally.  India was the first country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled (the Marrakesh Treaty), which was a result of multi-stakeholder collaboration, including advocacy by DFI.

Comment from the ABC selection jury

Hachette Livre, France, demonstrates that providing accessible reading materials requires an holistic approach to the whole ecology of publishing. It addresses company culture, implements born accessible production processes, works closely with suppliers and retailers, and participates nationally and internationally in developing new accessibility standards, technologies and regulations. Hachette Livre inspires accessibility excellence through all the links in the publishing supply chain – publishers, their suppliers and retailers.

DAISY Forum of India is an impressive example of volunteerism and a wide-ranging network of not-for-profit organizations, working with government, to provide millions of print-impaired persons, both in India and in developing countries, with equal access to information and knowledge in their own languages, without additional expense.

Nicol Faasen, ABC Selection Jury Member and Representative, Publishers Association of South Africa

The context

According to a 2017 estimate by the World Health Organization, 253 million people worldwide are visually impaired. 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. For this reason, ABC seeks to recognize leadership and achievements in advancing the accessibility of e-books and other digital materials.

About the Accessible Books Consortium

The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) was launched in June 2014 and is an alliance led by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It involves advocacy organizations, authors, collective management organizations, libraries for the blind, publishers, and standards bodies.

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. It carries out activities in three areas, 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. A set of Guidelines for Self-Publishing Authors has been produced, as has a Starter Kit for Accessible Publishing. The ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing is presented annually at the London Book Fair in recognition of outstanding leadership or achievements in improving the accessibility of books or other digital publications for people who are print disabled.

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. Projects are ongoing in Argentina, Bangladesh, Botswana, Burkina Faso, India, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Uruguay. Since the start of capacity building, over 4400 accessible educational books have been produced in national languages in these nine countries through training and technical assistance provided by ABC.

ABC Global Book Service (previously known as TIGAR) – a global library catalogue of 375,000 titles 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 165,000 people with print disabilities have borrowed accessible books through the participating libraries in the ABC Global Book Service.

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