Blog Date: 
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Mark A. Riccobono

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has been engaged in every aspect of the publishing marketplace to ensure that we continue to move toward the standard of "same book, same time, same price!" In other words our vision for the future is that a blind person (or anyone else requiring specific design features is a digital book to gain access to the content) will be able to buy the same digital copy of the book at the same time as everyone else and for the same price. At the 2013 NFB National Convention in Orlando, Thomas H. Allen, President and CEO, Association of American Publishers (AAP), announced the EPUB 3 Implementation Project (listen to the audio of his presentation, "A Collaboration That Enhances Opportunity: The Association of American Publishers and the National Federation of the Blind Change Possibilities for Literacy"). The NFB was pleased to receive news of this project as we have been a leading champion for EPUB 3 and the promise of accessibility that it represents.

The EPUB 3 Implementation Project is a partnership between publishers, retailers, digital content distributors, device makers, reading systems providers, assistive technology experts, and standards organizations—with the support and engagement of leading advocates for people with disabilities.  Its goal is to rapidly advance implementation of the EPUB 3 standard in the marketplace, with a special emphasis on enabling accessibility.  A white paper resulting from the project examines the current state of the EPUB 3 standard and its features among publishers and reading systems, and identifies the top ten priority features for implementation of EPUB 3 by reading systems developers and publishers, along with thirteen best-practice tips for publishers in the creation of accessible EPUB 3 publications. 

We urge all in the publishing industry to give this white paper serious attention and make the effective and speedy adoption of EPUB 3 a priority for your individual publishing organizations. The AAP is to be commended for taking this important step to recognize EPUB 3. The sooner that publishers begin integration of EPUB 3, the closer we will be to a truly inclusive publishing environment.

Read the AAP EPUB 3 Implementation Project white paper in HTML format or EPUB format.