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.
Charter for Accessible Publishing
The ABC Charter contains eight aspirational principles that publishers should follow to make their digital publications accessible to persons with print disabilities.
ABC Charter for Accessible Publishing Signatories
Seminar on Accessible Publishing and the European Accessibility Act
In this informative session organized by ABC, the Federation of European Publishers (FEP), Frankfurter Buchmesse and the International Publishers Association (IPA), publishers and accessibility advocates share their experiences and discuss how to prepare for the implementation of the European Accessibility Act by 2025. The 2021 ABC International Excellence Awards were presented during the seminar to the Taylor and Francis Group (publisher category) and to the National Network for Equitable Library Service (initiative category). Moderated by James Taylor of IPA, seminar participants included Cristina Mussinelli (Fondazione LIA), Laura Brady (House of Anansi Press), and Rachel Comerford (Macmillan Learning).
Video: Accessibility Now: Will you be ready for the European Accessibility Act in 2025? Read transcript
Video on YouTube: Michiel Kolman, Past President of the International Publishers Association (IPA), encourages publishers to support ABC and sign the Charter for Accessible Publishing
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.
Learn more about EPUB3
- Benetech's 15 Top Tips for Creating Accessible EPUB3 Files
- W3C: EPUB3 Community Group is a forum for the technical development of the EPUB 3 standard
- EPUB3 Accessibility Guidelines by Matt Garrish
- The Inclusive Publishing Hub, run by the DAISY Consortium, provides information, guidance and news about accessible publishing
- Quick Start Guide to Accessible Publishing (produced by The Accessible Publishing Working Group of the U.S. Book Industry Study Group [BISG])
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.
Resources for publishers
Inclusive Publishing Guide
The Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative (AIPI) has developed a publication, Inclusive Publishing in Australia?: An Introductory Guide, which offers publishers a set of workflow strategies for creating accessible digital books that are inclusive by design. This excellent Guide is relevant for all 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.
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.
European Blind Union – Guidelines for Making Information Accessible to All
The European Blind Union has clear, easy to understand guidelines written for a non-specialist audience of how to make documents accessible for all. The guidelines are available in Dutch, English, French, German and Spanish.
Best practices for publishers
The guidelines document Accessible Publishing, Best Practice Guidelines for Publishers was produced by EDitEUR with funding from WIPO. The guidelines are available in English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.
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.