UN to launch new iniative to enable the blind to access published works

From the press release:

In an unprecedented United Nations-supported initiative, people who cannot see and those who have other forms of visual disability will have access to published works through publisher intermediaries who will create accessible formats of publications and share them with specialized libraries.The new arrangement was announced today at the of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) meeting in the Indian capital, New Delhi.

It is estimated that only five percent of the world's one million print titles that are published every year are accessible to the some 340 million around the world who are blind, visually impaired or who live with other print disabilities.

Specialized organizations globally, such as libraries for the blind, have taken on the task of adapting these books into Daisy, Braille audio or special digital formats at great expense.

WIPO and has collaborated with organizations representing authors, publishers and blind and low vision persons, including the World Blind Union and the International Publishers Association to provide access to a wider range of accessible books. WIPO will provide the technical support for the project.

“WIPO is pleased to announce the launch of this innovative and unprecedented collaboration between the private sector and public interest organizations which aims at facilitating access to published works by the visually impaired and print disabled,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, who attended the meeting in New Delhi.

“The success of this project – which represents an effective global partnership for development – will require commitment and investment of all concerned,” said Mr. Gurry.

Through a range of library services and publisher offerings, the new initiative aims to ensure that people with print disabilities in both developing and developed countries have equal access to published works as persons without print disabilities.

About Nate Hoffelder (11598 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

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