Livres Canada Books. A whitepaper on the European Accessibility Act
Livres Canada Books (Association for the Export of Canadian Books), in collaboration with Fondazione LIA, has published the whitepaper The European Accessibility Act and Its Impact on the Publishing Industry. In regard to the forthcoming EU regulations on accessibility, the Canadian association decided to release a useful tool to understand what will change and how the European Accessibility Act will affect the publishing industry. It is a guide designed specifically for Canadian publishers and book professionals looking with interest at the European book market.
For the document’s realization, Livres Canada Books chose to engage Fondazione LIA, a point of reference also for the Italian Government, the European Commission and the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) concerning the implementation of the European Accessibility Act. Cristina Mussinelli, Elisa Molinari and Gregorio Pellegrino of Fondazione LIA are the authors of the whitepaper.
LIA offered its expertise in regard to the EU Directive and the technical aspects of digital publishing for the preparation of the report. In addition, the foundation gave its support to make accessible and to certificate the publication’s EPUB and PDF versions, according to the international accessibility standards.
The new EU Directive, the European Accessibility Act (EAA), defines the minimum requirements for accessibility, which will also concern digital products and services, including e-books, e-readers and e-commerce, by 2025. Therefore, the document released by Livres Canada Books outlines the opportunities and the challenges brought by the changed European legislative framework and presents the relevant information to prepare for the new requirements. The publication is organized in two thematic sections: firstly, an overview of the EAA’s legislative framework is presented. Then, some indications are given on the steps to follow to comply with the Directive. More specifically, the main topics discussed are:
- the concept of accessible publishing ecosystem and the responsibilities of each player in the value chain;
- the accessibility standards at international level;
- how to prepare for the EU accessibility requirements in the digital field.
Through practical examples, this withepaper is a quick guide and a useful tool for all the book professionals who intend to maintain or to engage in an exchange with the EU markets.
THE INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT
The attention to the theme of accessibility in Canada is part of a wider program, announced in 2019 by the government with an investment to support and encourage the production and distribution of accessible digital books in the national publishing industry. Livres Canada Books is an important non profit organization, offering services to help Canadian publishers in their export activities. The collaboration with Fondazione LIA began with an introductory webinar on accessibility hosted by LIA’s experts at the end of 2020. The webinar’s recording is now available online.
The cooperation with Livres Canada Books enriches the dialogue started by Fondazione LIA with several international realities interested in accessibility. An example of this is the attention raised by the release in 2019 of LIA’s whitepaper E-books for all. A German version of the publication was realized and distributed by the Börsenverein, the association of German publishers and booksellers, together with the German Centre for Accessible Reading (dzb lesen). A Japanese translation is also available, thanks to the agreement between LIA and the Keio Research Institute at SFC e APL, a university research centre involved in developing open software and standards.
These collaborations reflect the growing attention raised worldwide by the theme of accessibility, making even more strategic the creation of synergies between realities of different countries.