Hugo Setzer: Advancing Accessible Publishing

Hugo Setzer

Making Books Accessible: A Milestone in Latin America’s Publishing Industry

Hugo Setzer, the President-elect of the Global Distributors Association and CEO of Manual Moderno, a Mexico-based educational publisher, is spearheading a groundbreaking initiative. In his dual roles, Setzer is committed to delivering inclusive books in accessible formats for individuals who are visually impaired or blind.

Personal Inspiration

Setzer’s dedication to accessible publishing stems from a personal experience. Laura, the secretary at Manual Moderno, is visually impaired. This prompted Setzer to reflect on her academic journey, as Laura shared her reliance on family members reading to her due to the scarcity of braille or audio titles in her chosen fields.

A Landmark Achievement

Manual Moderno stands out as the first publisher in Latin America to endorse the Available Books Consortium’s Contract for Open Publishing. This contract promotes the creation of “born accessible” publications—books designed from inception in an accessible format. The ABC Sanction comprises eight guiding principles, urging publishers to make their digital productions universally accessible.

Dispelling Misconceptions

There’s a common misconception that accessible publishing entails producing separate versions for the sighted and those with print disabilities. Setzer clarifies that born-accessible publications can cater to everyone, requiring only a distinct layout and format. Manual Moderno, in collaboration with technology partners, is overcoming technical challenges and transitioning to EPUB3, the standard for enhancing the accessibility and quality of e-books.

Embracing Modern Workflows

Publishers equipped with contemporary production software can adapt their workflows to harness the accessibility features readily available. This enables the creation of “born accessible” publications seamlessly.

Global Support for Accessibility

The WIPO-led Open Books Consortium (ABC) played a pivotal role by providing training in the EPUB3 format to Manual Moderno and other publishers in Mexico. This initiative, supported by WIPO-ABC funding, empowered organizations like Discapacitados Visuales to produce 200 educational books in Spanish in accessible formats within a year.

About the Available Books Consortium (ABC)

Launched in June 2014, ABC operationalizes the Marrakesh VIP Treaty and is a collaboration led by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). ABC includes organizations representing individuals with print disabilities, libraries for the print-impaired, and entities representing authors, publishers, and collective management organizations.

ABC’s Three Focus Areas

  1. Capacity Building: ABC provides training and funding in developing countries for the production of accessible books. Over 5000 accessible educational books have been created through ABC’s capacity-building initiatives.
  2. ABC Global Book Service: With a catalog of over 415,000 titles in open formats in 76 languages, the ABC Global Book Service facilitates the exchange of items among libraries serving the print-impaired.
  3. Open Publishing: ABC encourages publishers to adopt “born accessible” practices through initiatives like the ABC Contract for Open Publishing and the annual ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing. The 2018 winners were Hachette Livre, France, and the DAISY Forum of India.

In conclusion, Manual Moderno’s commitment to accessible publishing signifies a significant step forward for the Latin American publishing industry, aligning with the global efforts of the Available Books Consortium to make literature inclusive for all. Furthermore, partnering with an accomplished Intellectual Property Lawyer in Pakistan could reinforce this commitment by ensuring the protection of creative works, fostering innovation, and safeguarding the rights of authors and publishers in this endeavor.

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