Making Books Accessible = Finding New Readers

Most of us have figured out that we should have frontlist titles available in print and digital formats, so that readers have a choice. But what about those people who aren’t your readers—yet—who want to be, but don’t have any options?

Accessible books are hard to find, especially front list books. This is more than simply audiobooks for the visually impaired, it’s about creating accessible digital content that’s just as easy to use as the print counterpart.

The DAISY Standard for Digital Talking Books makes navigating through audiobooks quick and easy. Just like you would tag an ebook, you can also tag audio content (chapters, headings, paragraphs, sentences) so that readers can fast forward, rewind, and jump back and forth between content. Sounds simple, but that navigation is surprisingly hard with a standard audiobook (if that audiobook is even available). Depending on the device, readers can also search for words and place bookmarks in the audio content.

More importantly, though, structuring the audio content means that it can be synchronized with text and graphics so that readers can listen to an audiobook while following along with the print or ebook. Imagine the potential for people who are learning to read or learning a new language!

EDItEUR and the DAISY Consortium have teamed up on the Enabling Technologies Framework , a three year project funded by WIPO . The goal of the project is to make it possible for publishers to easily create digital publications that are fully accessible to people who have print disabilities. Ideally, publishers will be able to create one product that meets the needs of both mainstream readers and those with print disabilities.

Currently, feedback is being collected through an international publishing survey focused on production processes and digital workflow. Everyone is invited to participate, so make sure your voice is heard.

The Enabling Technologies Framework will also be hosting a forum during the Frankfurt Bookfair as a way to introduce the accessibility and publishing communities to each other and, hopefully, figure out how we can work together.

This entry is cross-posted at BookMadam.com.