Reading opens up with AIPI developments

Relating to the Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative.

The 22 per cent** of the Australian population with a print disability will be closer to accessing more books sooner as a result of new guides and the AIPI online knowledge hub launched last week.

The Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative (AIPI) – a world-leading group comprised of disability institutions, book industry organisations, copyright bodies and government – aims to open up opportunities for more people to read in formats beyond print and audiobooks.

Author Nick Gleeson speaking at the launch. Author Nick Gleeson speaking at the launch.

Author, speaker, and vision impairment advocate, Nick Gleeson, says with a print disability you have to accept you can’t always get the books you want in the format you need.

“Most of my life” he says, “it has always been quite limited – and costly too. A recently published book can take up to six or 12 months to get access to – that is, either transformed from a print book to Braille or audiobook.”

Making Content Accessible : A Guide to Navigating Australian Copyright Law for Disability Access helps disability workers and copyright officers navigate the current fair dealing copyright exception for the print disabled. It outlines what the law allows, and what it limits, in accessing book content, for those institutions that service the print disabled.

Publisher Jane Curry officially launching the AIPI guide.Publisher Jane Curry officially launching the AIPI guide.

Making Content Accessible was launched at the Round table for information access for the print disabled by Jane Curry, Director of Ventura Press, and Australian Publishers Association (APA) and Copyright Agency Board member, alongside, Nick Gleeson, in Brisbane.

Ms Curry said, “We are here to challenge the complacency of sighted people when it comes to the world of books and publishing. A majority of people who run publishing companies may be sighted but we have an ethical and professional duty to ensure our books are accessible to all.”

Inclusive Publishing in Australia is an introductory guide launched by Rosanna Arciuli from the Copyright Agency, Sarah Runcie from the APA and Julie Ganner from the IPEd, at the Institute for Professional Editors (IPEd) Conference in Melbourne last Wednesday.

The resource is for professionals involved in the publishing process. It explains how inclusion and accessibility benefit both the community and business, and offers a range of workflow strategies and resources for creating accessible books that are inclusive by design.

Lee Walker, President of the APA and founding AIPI participant, writes in the introduction of the Inclusive Publishing in Australia guide, “Inclusive design is a strategic investment for the publishing industry, allowing publishers to service a growing market. It also provides publishers with the opportunity to create clever, more efficient, and more cost-effective workflows and opens up new ways of thinking about content, formats and user experience. This guide provides information to help publishers realise this vision.”

The two publications have been published in accessible formats on the AIPI website, which also houses resources, contacts, stories from industry professionals and testimonies of people who have a print disability.

The publication launch comes at a busy time for AIPI, with the Australian Labor Party last weekend announcing financial support of $2 million for its initiatives. Should Labor win the May 18 election, the promised funds will activate what the guides set out.

Funding from a Labor government will be used for two key projects:

  • to unify current data and build a national database of currently housed accessible format publications held in the various print disability libraries across Australia; and
  • to train the publishing industry in born-accessible workflow, ensuring that once a book is published, it can be available in accessible format such as DAISY and EPub.

Learn more //

AIPI is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.

*Secondary research to determine the size of the national print disabled audience, June 2014. A report prepared for Radio Reading Network (RPH Australia) by Ipsos Australia. Accessed here.
**It is estimated that up to 22 per cent of the Australian population has a print disability or significant literacy handicap. For those with vision impairment or dyslexia, access to a much wider range of books is a step closer as a result of new guides and AIPI online knowledge hub launched last week.
Nick Gleeson is the author of The Many Ways of Seeing  (Ventura Press).