Tell us a little about Bokförlaget Hegas

Hegas was founded in 1983 by the special education teachers Siv Aronsson and Gun Hållander. They were tired of not finding enough good books for readers with print disabilities and decided to take matters into the own hands. Today we publish easy to read children’s books from the age 6 up to 15. Our goal is to make a book for every reader and we now publish around 100 books a year.


What does it mean to you to be shortlisted for/win the Accessible Books Consortium Excellence Award?

It is incredibility honoring and gives us the motivation to become even more accessible and make the right choices forward for our readers.


What made you decide to tackle accessibility issues?

Since we are an easy to read publishing house it is not far from our core to make accessible books. With the digitalization of the publishing world we wanted to be a part of it and provide our books in the format that suits our readers the best.


What have you done to make your books more accessible?

We strive to make our books accessible in language and subject and images where we have five different “levels” for difficulty of the book that can guide the reader to the level that they are comfortable in reading. And of course in the format, so on almost all our books we make audiobooks and epub3 with audio overlay and sentence highlighting.


Were there, or are there still, misconceptions about tackling accessibility?

I would say the biggest misconception is that easy to read books are not as good as “normal” books, that they lack in quality, which is far from the truth and we aim to provide a full reading experience even for a skilled reader, it will just be faster.

And regarding format I still hear that digital books are a lesser version of the printed book and does not “count” as a book.


Do you have any accessibility related plans for the future?

We still have steps we would like to take to make our books more accessible, the next step on our list is to have alt. text for our epub3’s. We don’t have that today but hope we can make it happen soon.


Are there any particular experiences you would like to share or do you have any messages for other publishers?

We would say, just do it! You have to make up your mind and try to find the routines and effective workflows that makes it possible. And that it is possible to start with one step and then develop as you go.