Finalists Announced for the 2021 Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award

September 22, 2021

The shortlist for the 2021 ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing has been posted. The WIPO led Accessible Books Consortium will unveil the names of the winners at the awards ceremony to be held at the Frankfurter Buchmesse on Wednesday, October 20, 2021.

The shortlisted candidates are:

Publisher category Initiative category
  • House of Anansi Press (Canada)

Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind (Brazil)

  • Taylor & Francis Group (UK)

National Network for Equitable Library Services (NNELS, Canada)

  • University of Michigan Press (US)

Sao Mai Center for the Blind (Viet Nam)


The Interdepartmental Steering Committee for the Promotion of Born Accessible eBooks to People with Disabilities (COPIL, France)


This is the first time that WIPO will present the ABC International Excellence Award at the Frankfurter Buchmesse. ABC International Excellence Award winners will be announced by WIPO Deputy Director General Sylvie Forbin during a virtual seminar on making accessible eBooks, which will be streamed live from 3.00 pm to 3.45 pm on October 20 from the Frankfurter Buchmesse.  No registration is required to attend the awards ceremony and accessibility seminar, which is co-organized by WIPO, the Frankfurter Buchmesse, the International Publishers Association and the Federation of European Publishers and will feature speakers from 2020 ABC award winners, Macmillan Learning (Rachel Comerford) and Fondazione LIA (Cristina Mussinelli), as well as 2021 ABC award nominee, House of Anansi Press (Laura Brady).

Nominees were judged on the criteria of outstanding leadership or achievements in improving the accessibility of e-books or other digital publications for persons who are blind, have low vision, are dyslexic or have mobility impairments that impact their ability to read the printed word.

The finalists were selected by an expert jury composed of representatives of authors, publishers, standards bodies, and organizations representing people who are visually impaired, as well as accessibility experts.

Photo of ABC award
Winners of the 2020 ABC International Excellence Award were MacMillan Learning (US) in the publisher category and the LIA Foundation (Italy) in the initiative category


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.

About Frankfurter Buchmesse

Frankfurter Buchmesse is the international publishing industry’s most important global marketplace for content – from novels and children’s books to academic databases and stories for films, games and virtual reality experiences. Publishing professionals from around the world meet here with partners from the technology sector and from related creative and cultural industries, sparking new partnerships and business models. Since 1976, the book fair has featured an annual Guest of Honour country, which showcases its book market, literature and culture to attendees in a variety of ways. Frankfurter Buchmesse organises the participation of German publishers at international book fairs and hosts trade events throughout the year in major international markets. Frankfurter Buchmesse is a subsidiary of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers & Booksellers Association).