Cambridge University Press & Young Power in Social Action honoured
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ABC Award for Accessible Publishing Winners Announced
15 April 2015

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Breaking down barriers to access to books for the visually impaired

Cambridge University Press and Bangladesh’s Young People in Social Action are the joint winners of the inaugural Accessible Books Consortium Award for Accessible Publishing.

The awards were presented during a ceremony on April 14 at the London Book Fair as part of its international excellence awards series. Both Cambridge University Press (CUP) and Young People in Social Action (YPSA) were recognized for providing outstanding leadership and achievements in the advancement of the accessibility of commercial e-books or other digital publications to persons with print disabilities. 
‘‘All of the shortlisted applicants presented us with innovative and important examples of their work in accessible publishing", said Jens Bammel, Secretary General of the International Publishers Association and member of the selection jury. "However, CUP and YPSA displayed fantastic accomplishments in their respective fields and are worthy winners of this award.’’

Cambridge University Press - making accessibility the norm
The first winner is the oldest publisher in the world, Cambridge University Press (CUP). Since 2013, its academic business has entirely redesigned its production workflows to make new titles as accessible as possible for readers with print disabilities. This has meant enabling the creation of proof ePub and Kindle books at the same time as the proof PDFs. By 2014, 72% of new books were available in accessible formats on or before the print publication date, with a further 12% made available less than two weeks afterwards.

Cambridge University Press's Production Manager Dan Dunlavey with Anne Leer, Deputy Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation

If the formats that CUP have available for purchase do not meet the needs of the individual user, customers may request a PDF version within one week of application. In 2014, CUP handled requests for 386 titles (not including for USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand), and was able to supply accessible files to the individual user.

Accessibility is now factored into every aspect of Cambridge University Press’s content policy, part of a company-wide commitment to making content available in all formats.

Young Power in Social Action – Transforming the lives of print disabled students in Bangladesh
The second winner, YPSA, based in Chittagong, has been working since 1985 to bring about positive socio-economic change for the visually impaired, who number some four million in Bangladesh. 

YPSA has produced over 600 books in accessible formats, and works with the Ministry of Education (the principle publisher of textbooks in the country) and commercial publishers, instructing them on accessible publishing techniques so that their future titles can be ‘born accessible’.

YPSA Project Manager Vashkar Bhattacharjee with Anne Leer, WIPO

YPSA's Arifur Rahman and  Vashkar Bhattacharjee travelled to London to collect the Accessible Books Consortium Award in person. Speaking about the award, Mr. Bhattacharjee, who has been blind since birth, said that ‘‘to be recognized for our work is fantastic. We hope that we can continue to serve the visually impaired of Bangladesh and look forward to a future free of barriers for all persons with disabilities.’’ 

Note to editors:

The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) is a multi-stakeholder alliance, comprising the World Intellectual Property Organization; organizations that represent people with print disabilities; libraries for people that are print disabled and organizations representing publishers and authors. The ABC aims to increase the number of books worldwide in accessible formats – such as braille, audio and large print – and to make them available to people who are blind, have low vision or are otherwise print disabled. 
ABC carries out activities in three areas to fulfill its mandate, namely:
• Capacity building, i.e., technical training in developing countries in the production and distribution of books in accessible formats;
• Inclusive publishing, i.e., promotion of accessible book production techniques so that published books are usable from the outset by both sighted people and those with print disabilities; and
• the ABC International Book Exchange, otherwise known as the TIGAR Service, which is a database of accessible titles located at WIPO’s headquarters in Geneva that can be exchanged across national borders.  
The International Publishers Association is the international federation of national publishers associations, representing all aspects of book and journal publishing from around the world. IPA is an industry association with a human rights mandate. It fights against censorship and promotes copyright, literacy and freedom to publish, around the world.
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