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Access to Books by Americans with Print Disabilities

Author: Reading Rights Coalition

Published: 2010-03-10 : (Rev. 2010-09-30)

Synopsis and Key Points:

Books offered in electronic and audio format for millions of Americans who are blind or have other print disabilities.

Main Digest

Joint Statement on Access to Books by Americans with Print Disabilities.

The Reading Rights Coalition, which represents thirty million Americans who cannot read print due to disabilities; the Authors Guild, with a membership of eight thousand American writers; and the Association of American Publishers, whose more than three hundred members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, today issued the following statement regarding access to books by Americans with print disabilities:

"The growth in the number of books offered in electronic and audio formats has created tremendous opportunities for the millions of Americans who are blind or have other print disabilities that make it difficult or impossible to read printed books in the same way that other Americans typically do. This large community constitutes a previously-untapped market that is hungry for the educational, inspirational, and recreational opportunities that books can provide, and now offers a significant commercial opportunity to the publishing industry.

"The Reading Rights Coalition, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers believe that the contents of books should be as accessible to individuals with print disabilities as they are to everyone else. To that end, these groups agree to work together and through the communities they represent to ensure that when the marketplace offers alternative formats to print books, such as audio and electronic books, print-disabled consumers can access the contents of these alternative formats to the same extent as all other consumers."

For comments on the statement from Kareem A. Dale, special assistant to the President for disability policy, please see his blog post at www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/03/09/one-step-closer-full-access.

About the Reading Rights Coalition

The Reading Rights Coalition consists of thirty-one organizations that represent the estimated thirty million Americans who can not read print. The member organizations of the Reading Rights Coalition believe that access to the written word is the cornerstone of education and democracy, and new information technologies must SERVE individuals with disabilities rather than acting as barriers.

About the Authors Guild

The Authors Guild, representing more than eight thousand authors, is the largest and oldest society of published authors in the United States and the leading writers' advocate for fair contracts, effective copyright protection, and free expression. Its work in recent years has focused on assuring that authors are appropriately compensated for digital uses of their work, so that authors can continue to create works readers value.

About the Association of American Publishers

The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the United States book publishing industry. AAP's more than three hundred members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses, and scholarly societies. AAP members publish hardcover and paperback books in every field, educational materials for the elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and professional markets, scholarly journals, computer software, and electronic products and services.

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