We are committed to providing accessible experiences for all users of our products, services and digital content, regardless of ability or technology. As part of this pledge, we aim for compliance with Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 (WCAG 2.1). You can access the full guidelines here.

Accessible ebooks

Most of our new books are made available in ePDF and reflowable ePUB 3 formats, the majority of which are produced in house by our Production staff.

In 2022, we began requesting alt text from authors to enhance the accessibility of our ebooks for visually impaired users. This step, alongside other improvements made to our Production workflow (outlined below), has helped us to ensure that our ePUBs created in house conform to WCAG AA standards wherever possible.

In cases where ebook conversion is outsourced, we are proud to be working with suppliers certified by Benetech’s Global Certified Accessible (GCA) Program.

Our commitment to enhancing the accessibility of our ebook content is ongoing work, and we greatly value feedback. If you have any suggestions or insights that could aid us in this pursuit, please email us or contact us by phone or by post.

We actively support and endorse accessible publishing initiatives. As part of our commitment to making our books accessible to all individuals, we are a proud signatory of the Accessible Books Consortium’s Charter for Accessible Publishing.

Accessible Books Consortium’s Charter for Accessible Publishing

Accessible ebook software

Ebook reading systems vary significantly in terms of their support for accessibility features. Visit EPUB TEST for accessibility support information for specific platforms. Our ebooks are tested in-house for compatibility using Colibrio and Thorium software.

Accessibility goals

We acknowledge that there is still much work to be done to make our publications accessible to all users and our goals will be ongoing in alignment with new developments and standards. This is a primary concern for our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Below, we provide a summary of recent work we have undertaken and key areas where we aim to make improvements.

Completed Projects:

  • In 2021, we provided training courses on ebook Creation to Production staff to enhance departmental knowledge of standards and current accessibility issues.
  • In 2022, we conducted a review of external ebook conversion vendors for accessibility standards. Where ebook conversion is outsourced, we now work with vendors who are accredited by Benetech’s Global Certified Accessible program.
  • Between 2022 and 2023, we introduced author-written alt text into our Production workflow, made improvements to Schema metadata and our eBook CSS, and began validating ePUBs using Ace by DAISY. These steps were pivotal in achieving WCAG’s AA level of accessibility for frontlist ePUBs created in-house.
  • In 2023, we implemented more robust metadata: namely, the implementation of ONIX Codelist 196 on our database for frontlist ePUB editions

Ongoing Initiatives:

  • Adding page markers in ePUB to align with print page numbering
  • Investigating linking figure references and chapter cross references in ePUB to take users to the referenced page
  • Initiating accessibility training for all staff members
  • Displaying accessibility metadata on our website
  • Ensuring more comprehensive alt text across all levels of our website