Accessibility of e-books
Developing a range of accessible e-books is a promising prospect for people with disabilities. A steering committee brings together, around the Ministry of Culture and the State Secretariat for Persons with Disabilities, all the organisations concerned to set common guidelines and a programme of actions.
Technological advances in the field of digital publishing make it possible to produce natively accessible e-books: digital books with simple and poorly illustrated models (general literature, essays, humanities, etc.) The European Commission has published a series of publications aimed at the general public and will be able to present accessibility features which will meet the needs of a large proportion of people with disabilities from the outset.
To make this offer effective, the imperative of accessibility must be found throughout the digital book chain: people with disabilities should be able to identify the books that correspond to their needs, access it on sales and library lending platforms, benefit from adapted equipment and be accompanied to appropriate these new digital reading practices.
The development of an offer of accessible e-books therefore requires an effort of adaptation and strong mobilization on the part of professionals and associations specialized in access to books for people with disabilities. For this reason, the Ministry of Culture, together with the Secretary of State to the Prime Minister responsible for persons with disabilities, has committed itself to a process of steering, coordination and support.
At the end of the Interministerial Committee on Disability (CIH) of 20 September 2017, the creation of an interministerial steering committee for the development of an offer of natively accessible e-books was announced. It brings together representatives of public and private actors concerned: associations of persons with disabilities, publishers, e-book dealers, bibliographic database managers, librarians, National Book Centre, ministries in charge of culture, persons with disabilities, higher education and research.
The Steering Committee has adopted a strategic plan which sets out twelve guidelines to be followed to ensure a coordinated evolution of the sector towards accessibility. Each is the subject of a programme of shared actions, a regular review of which will be made during the meetings of the steering committee.