Cultural Fund supported project, Books Without Barriers, shortlisted for international award  

October 17, 2023

Earlier this month the shortlisted entries for the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing 2023 were announced in Geneva, Switzerland. The Copyright Agency supported project Books Without Barriers was included in the shortlisting as part of a competitive international field of accessible publishing initiatives. Find out more about Books Without Barriers here.

The Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative (AIPI), a world-leading initiative founded in 2017, has been supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund since its inception. AIPI aims to improve access to books for the print handicapped, whether blind, vision-impaired, dyslexic, or otherwise disabled, in Australia.

Written with support and insight from the Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative and Australian Publishers Association, Books Without Barriers is a comprehensive guide on how to produce ‘born accessible’ publications, as co-author and editor, Julie Ganner AE explains:

Books Without Barriers was co-authored with Kayt Duncan and Maryanne Park, who wrote and illustrated the excellent material on children’s books and maths and science, respectively. The guide builds on Inclusive Publishing in Australia, and aims to support writers, editors, and publishers everywhere in the move to more inclusive publishing practices. We hope the award nomination will draw international attention not only to these two guides but also the terrific work being done across Australia to make equitable access to published materials a reality.”

Fellow co-author Agata Mrva-Montoya says, “We have been working on researching and producing information resources and training for the publishing industry on accessibility best practice since 2017, first as members of the Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative, and later as part of the Institute of Professional Editors’ Accessibility Initiative Working Party.

“We are very grateful for the support of the Copyright Agency, the Australian Publishers Association and The University of Sydney, as well as Sonali Marathe of Next Sense, Sarah Runcie of the Copyright Agency, and the many academic and industry colleagues committed to addressing accessibility issues who worked with us on the guidelines,” she adds.

Founded in 2014, the Accessible Books Consortium is a public/private partnership led by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). ABC aims to increase the number of books available in accessible formats for the blind and vision impaired.

Juror and CEO of the DAISY Consortium, Richard Orme shared, “The jury was hugely impressed with the exceptional quality of the nominees, making the task of selecting the short-list a very challenging one. We are delighted that this year we received a record number of nominations from five continents, which demonstrates increasing commitment around the world by publishers and organizations to producing accessible digital publications.”

This year’s winners of the Accessible Books Consortium’s (ABC) International Excellence Award will be announced during a ceremony on Sunday 29 October at the 2023 Sharjah Publishers Conference in the United Arab Emirates.