The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) promotes the production of "born accessible" publications that are fully accessible to all readers – our vision is for the same product to be usable by everybody.
In particular, ABC encourages all publishers to:
- use the accessibility features of the EPUB3 standard for the production of digital publications;
- include descriptions of the accessibility features of their products in the information they provide to retailers and others in the book supply chain.
The future of accessible publishing – EPUB3
Accessible EPUB3 is the "gold standard" in the publishing industry for the production of accessible digital books.
If its accessibility features are used correctly, EPUB3 allows for the creation of an electronic file that can then be used to produce accessible digital books in various formats, for example:
- an audiobook with a synthesized voice; or with human narration
- embossed braille; or
- electronic braille (braille read on a computer with a refreshable braille keyboard).
An automated checker for EPUB – "Ace by DAISY"
The DAISY Consortium, an ABC partner, has released an open-source “Accessibility Checker for EPUB” known as “Ace by DAISY” for e-books created in the EPUB format.
"Ace by DAISY" allows publishers to verify that their publications are accessible and conform to internationally recognized standards and ensure that their publications are readable by people with print disabilities. This automated tool has been designed for publishers to be easily incorporated at any stage of the publication workflow and provides a list of errors that need fixing in order to create accessible materials.
ABC International Excellence Award
This annual award is presented at the London Book Fair. It recognizes outstanding leadership and achievements in advancing the accessibility of digital publications for persons who are print disabled.
Two awards are presented each year, one to a publisher and one for a project initiative.
ABC encourages nominations of companies, organizations or individuals that are based in developing or least developed countries.
Michele Woods (center) of WIPO, Alicia Wise (left) and Marcia Balisciano (right) of Elsevier, winners of the 2016 ABC award (Photo: London Book Fair). Center:
Monica Halil (left) of WIPO; Huw Alexander (center) and Catherine O’C onnell (right) of SAGE Publishing, winners of the 2017 ABC award (Photo: Steve Burden). Right:
Fleur Star (left) and Jemma Westing (right) of the DK Braille Concept Development Team, winners of the 2016 ABC award (Photo: London Book Fair).
Resources for publishers
Guidelines for self-publishing authors
ABC and the International Authors Forum have produced Accessible eBook Guidelines for Self-Publishing Authors , written by accessibility expert Dave Gunn.
These guidelines describe how people with print disabilities such as sight loss or dyslexia use technology to read eBooks, as well as the steps authors can take to ensure their books are compatible with that technology.
These 30 minute training modules, produced by EDitEUR with WIPO funding, are designed to help publishers understand the accessibility needs of persons with print disabilities.
The training helps publishers in a range of different roles make adjustments to their business and workflow processes in order to benefit all readers and increase business opportunities.
Books for All starter kit
The ABC Books for All Starter Kit for Accessible Publishing in Developing and Least-Developed Countries provides information on how to increase the number of books in accessible formats at the national level.
It is designed for key stakeholders such as NGOs, departments of education, and publishers in developing and least-developed countries (LDCs).
The Starter Kit focuses both on how to establish a national “books for all” strategy as well as on the various technologies and procedures to produce works in accessible formats.
The DAISY Consortium, with partial funding from WIPO, has developed an open source cross-platform conversion tool for software developers to create applications that can be used for the production of content in accessible formats. Find out more about the Pipeline 2 tool on the DAISY Consortium website.