By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
‘Born Accessible’ Publishing ProductsOur regular readers are familiar with the Benetech “Global Certified Accessible” (GCA) accreditation program, of course.
The Benetech team works with a publisher to evaluate whether the house’s ebooks are designed to be accessible for learners with reading barriers such as blindness, low vision, dyslexia, or a physical disability. Books called “born accessible” are developed to make it possible for students of any ability to have equal access to information.
Benetech is based in Palo Alto, California, and is a not-for-profit company engaged in what it calls “software for social good.” Its ventures, for example, include Bookshare, an international ebook library for people with reading barriers.
Today (November 5), the Toronto-based Annick Press has reached Benetech’s accreditation for its ebooks.
“Since the company’s founding,” says Brendan Ouellette, Annick’s digital project manager, “Annick has been at the forefront of publishing books that reflect the world of the contemporary child.
“We’re committed to inclusivity, diversity, and authenticity in our publishing, and that applies to our digital program.
“We’re proud to be among the first children’s publishers in the industry to make our ebooks accessible.”
The publishing house’s first book to be “born accessible,” meaning fully accessible at its initial publication is Harvey and the Extraordinary by Eliza Martin with illustrations by Anna Bron.
In a prepared comment, Brad Turner, who is Benetech’s vice-president and general manager of global education and literacy, is quoted, saying, “All digital content can and should be born accessible.”
Benetech’s program is the first third-party ePub certification program to verify ebook accessibility, and a company called eBoundCanada, a GCA international partner, completed the evaluation.
Annick Press therefore took the GCA certification through eBound, a nonprofit that supports independent Canadian publishers in the digital marketplace.
Deborah Nelson is CEO of eBound, and is quoted, saying, “eBound believes that all content born digital should be born accessible, so that all people can have access to all content.
“As such, eBound is delighted to have formed a partnership with Benetech to support our Canadian independent publisher clients as they go through the important process of having all content born accessible.
“eBound’s goal is to have 80 percent or more of our publishing clients producing accessible content by 2024, supporting the goal of Canadian Heritage, whose generous support has made this work possible.”
More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.