Following the announcement of the shortlist for the Accessible Books Consortium Excellence Awards, IPA spoke to one of the shortlisted publishers to find out more about what they do and why accessibility is important to them. Read our interview with Victor Malumian and Julian Calderazi from Ediciones Godot and Digital Be below.
Tell us a little about Ediciones Godot
Victor MalumianWe are a very little publishing house in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Only two editors work in Godot, Hernán López Winne and myself. We started Godot in 2009. We've published around 80 titles, mostly essays. We have published authors like Slavoj Zizek, Stanislaw Lem, Raymond Williams, Martin Kohan, Walter Benjamin, Peter Sloterdijk, Roland Barthes, Renata Salecl and Herny David Thoreu. We also publish modern classics like John Cheever, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett.
What does it mean to you to be shortlisted for the Accessible Books Consortium Excellence Award?
VM For us it is a great honour, we never expected. It’s nice to see that such an important issue is in the spotlight of the international community. We work side by side with Julian Calderazi from DigitalBe, and we are always looking for ways to improve the reading experience of the community that is interested in what we publish.
What made you decide to tackle accessibility issues?
VM We feel that the second goal of any publisher is to target as many readers as possible without betraying your catalogue. The first one, of course, is to make a flawless book. If we take that under consideration we will see clearly that you cannot afford not to make your content accessible. Not only do you enlarge the range of potential readers as a business, also you take one step ahead in order to make a more democratic access to knowledge.
What have you done to make your books more accessible?
Julian Calderazi:Since late 2017 we worked with Ediciones Godot to modify the production workflow in order to achieve born-accessible EPUBs from the very beginning. Basically, by respecting W3C's EPUB Accessibility Recommended Specification, ARIA, WCAG (Level AA), accurate use of metadata, and last but not least the introduction of ACE by DAISY (outstanding tool) we reached the goal of providing a successful reading experience to consumers.
Were there, or are there still, misconceptions about tackling accessibility issues?
JC I think we have to avoid falling into the trap of strictly relating accessibility only to blind people and that there’s an enormous community of consumers that have different problems for accessing content (visual, auditory, motor &/or cognitive). We don’t know who will read titles we produce but we can do a lot to make them available to all.
Do you have any accessibility related plans for the future?
JC We will keep working under Publishing@W3C standards + Recommended specifications and with the DAISY Consortium to continue producing accessible content for consumers but also updating already developed titles in order to fulfil consumers’ needs.
Are there any particular experiences you would like to share or do you have any messages for other publishers?
JC We invite publishers to consider accessibility in their production workflows. Publishers will find new consumers and consumers will find new content. It’s a win-win for sure.
IPA will interview the other two shortlisted publishers before the announcement of the winner. Interviews will appear on our website and feature in our next newsletter.