Accessible Books Consortium’s 2020 Excellence Awards Given to Macmillan Learning and Fondazione LIA

March 10, 2020

Macmillan Learning of the United States and Fondazione LIA of Italy are the winners of the 2020 ABC International Excellence Awards for Accessible Publishing. Macmillan Learning was recognized in the publisher category and Fondazione LIA was recognized in the initiative category for their achievements in improving the accessibility of e-books and other digital publications for people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled.

This prestigious award, presented by the WIPO-led Accessible Books Consortium (ABC), is a noted event in the field of accessibility. An expert jury composed of accessibility experts and representatives of organizations serving people who are visually impaired, authors, publishers and standards bodies selected this year’s winners from a number of diverse nominees from around the world.

In the past, winners have been announced at a much anticipated annual awards ceremony at the London Book Fair. Unfortunately, however, the London Book Fair was cancelled this year following the outbreak of the coronavirus in Europe and the winners were advised via email of this honour.

The jury had difficulty selecting the winners among excellent nominees, but it was felt that it was important to recognize Macmillan Learning’s contributions as the first Global Certified Accessible (GCA) publisher producing products and learning materials in accessible formats for students with different kinds of vision impairment.

Fondazione LIA has introduced an innovative approach to accessible publishing, which we would encourage others to emulate. The Foundation has played a very important role in bringing together publishers and the visually impaired community to create an environment where issues of accessibility matter

Hugo Setzer, ABC Selection Jury Member and President, International Publishers Association
Photo of ABC award
Photo of the Accessible Books Consortium’s 2020 Excellence award

Macmillan Learning feels strongly that knowledge sharing is important, and for us accessibility speaks to the core of our mission - to improve lives through learning. The needs for accessible educational materials are universal and extend beyond an area of focus for one publisher in one country. We look forward to continuing to be part of a solution that enables students of all abilities to have a great learning experience

Rachel Comerford, Senior Director, Content Standards and Accessibility, Macmillan Learning

We are really pleased that the work done by the LIA Foundation to create awareness on accessibility in the publishing industry has been recognized. This is a further stimulus to pursue our goal of creating a fully inclusive publishing ecosystem where all readers have the same opportunity to choose what they want in the publishers’ catalogues. A special thanks goes to all our stakeholders, the Italian Publishers Association and the Italian publishers, the Italian Blind and Visual Impaired Union, the Italian Dyslexia Association and the Biblioteca di Monza, without whose precious collaboration this would not be possible

Cristina Mussinelli, Secretary General, Fondazione LIA


According to a 2018 estimate by the World Health Organization, 253 million people worldwide are blind or have severe to moderate vision impairment. 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, the Accessible Book Consortium seeks to recognize leadership and achievements in advancing the accessibility of e-books and other digital materials.

About the Accessible Books Consortium

ABC is a WIPO led public–private partnership, which 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. It was established in June 2014 to implement the goals of the WIPO-administered 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.

ABC works in three areas, namely:

  • Capacity Building – training and funding is provided by ABC in developing countries for the production of books in accessible formats.
  • ABC Global Book Service - a global library catalogue of accessible formats that enables participating libraries for the blind from around the world to share items in their collections and distribute accessible titles obtained through ABC to their patrons.
  • Accessible Publishing – the promotion of accessible book production techniques within the publishing industry so that e-books are usable by both sighted people and those with print disabilities.

For further information, please visit

About the World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property (IP) services, policy, information and cooperation. We are a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with 193 member states.

Our mission is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international IP system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all. Our mandate, governing bodies and procedures are set out in the WIPO Convention, which established WIPO in 1967.