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White House Applauds Joint Effort for Print Disabled

March 9, 2010. The Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers and the Reading Rights Coalition agreed to work together to ensure access to books for people with print disabilities. On the White House blog, Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, endorsed the effort.

Joint Statement

The Reading Rights Coalition, which represents thirty million Americans who cannot read print due to disabilities; the Authors Guild, with a membership of eight thousand American writers; and the Association of American Publishers, whose more than three hundred members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, today issued the following statement regarding access to books by Americans with print disabilities:
“The growth in the number of books offered in electronic and audio formats has created tremendous opportunities for the millions of Americans who are blind or have other print disabilities that make it difficult or impossible to read printed books in the same way that other Americans typically do.  This large community constitutes a previously-untapped market that is hungry for the educational, inspirational, and recreational opportunities that books can provide, and now offers a significant commercial opportunity to the publishing industry.

“The Reading Rights Coalition, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers believe that the contents of books should be as accessible to individuals with print disabilities as they are to everyone else.  To that end, these groups agree to work together and through the communities they represent to ensure that when the marketplace offers alternative formats to print books, such as audio and electronic books, print-disabled consumers can access the contents of these alternative formats to the same extent as all other consumers.”