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Publishers Call for Industry Cohesion on Accessible e-Books

A pledge on behalf of the publishing industry to work with all parts of the publishing supply chain to improve the accessibility of e-books has been launched by The Publishers Association (PA), with cross-sector support.

The joint statement ( ) was launched at this week’s London Book Fair 2012, and is supported by a range of organisations, including: the Royal National Institute of Blind People; and EDItEUR, the international trade standards body for the book industry.

While technological advancements have made it easier for publishers to produce material that is more accessible to those with print impairments, the whole supply chain now needs to work together to advance e-book accessibility, the statement says.

“The mechanisms by which an ebook is made accessible involve all the actors in the supply chain from author to reader; no single actor in that chain can solve the challenge of accessibility by itself. Publishers, ebook device manufacturers, platform developers, ebook wholesalers and retailers, and of course consumers themselves all have their part to play”, it says.

Publishers are now looking to work with: developers of e-book devices and platforms; e-book retailers; learning providers and libraries; and readers with print impairments.

The PA is asking organisations in all parts of the publishing supply chain, and others interested organisations, to pledge their support to the statement, which they can do through the PA’s website ( ). The association has also produced its own recommendations on accessible publishing and text-to-speech ( ).


  1. Sue Shoesmith | April 19th, 2012 | 12:21 pm

    Has anyone considered approaching published celebrities such as J. K. Rowling or Stephen Fry, to ask for their support with this initiative? It might help to spark more interest and provide greater publicity.

  2. Sharon Kerr | April 24th, 2012 | 7:22 am

    We were very fortunate that our Vice Chancellor Professor Steven Schwartz let us work with him to develop a proof of concept for a universally designed ebook. It is available for free download at

    I agree with Sue, that we need to get more of these high profile people involved. Governments also need to get involved if they are serious about the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. If books are not accessible, it will be communities and Governments who ultimately pay the price.
    Sharon Kerr Twitter: mqskerr

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