Luis González (Director of Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez) moderated the conversation between Arantza Larrauri (General Director Libranda De Marque), Silvia Clemares (Senior Country Manager, Content, Spain, Portugal, and Latin America Rakuten Kobo) and Ted van der Togt (Researcher KB National Library of the Netherlands) about accessibility challenges from the perspective of the whole book value chain (publishing, distribution and retail).
González started sharing few notes about the main challenges of accessibility for the whole book value chain. The main goal is “to comply, what we consider the new paradigm, the production of born, accessible publications, it’s important, but is just the first step. Providing print impaired people with the same reading opportunities of any other reader requires that the whole publishing value chain is accessible. And this is the point of this panel. Consequently, not only publishers, but all the different actors in the value chain should consider accessibility as a crucial aspect for publishers and producers of digital publications”.
“We just heard about that, it’s about distributors and online retailers, ecommerce websites, online platforms, developers of hardware and software, reading solutions, DRM and metadata solution developers. So an accessible publication does not guarantee a complete accessible experience for everyone. It’s necessary to create an accessible digital ecosystem in which all users can carry out the following steps independently: selecting a title, learn about its accessibility features, proceed with the purchase and reading it on their own device. Usually, metadata describe the bibliographic commercial and technical characteristics. Now, to comply with the EU Accessibility Act, they should include information on the accessibility features of the file”.
Larrauri started by the following statement: “Accessibility has always been DNA part of our corporation. Why? Because if we look at our mission, our mission is to connect creators with audiences. And this is key because accessibility is about connection. It’s about connecting the works with a lot of people, everyone, and at the same time it’s connecting the value chain members. Because, as you said, if only publishers do things exactly and the others don’t…” and added that “So connection is such a big important thing for us. That is very key to understand what the Libranda/DeMarque is doing”.
The company is participating in accessibility groups in WC “So this is very key to understand that we don’t see that as just as a distributor or aggregator. We see this issue as a whole approach, because we don’t feel that we are just distributors. We are distributors, but we also have reading ecosystems and platforms”.
You can see in this video the rest of the explanation about the work Demarque is doing focused on accessibility.
Silvia Clemares explained that “Rakuten Kobo, it’s a digital bookseller. We sell e-books and audiobooks. We have different business models, any new business models, A la carte, All-you-can-eat, we explore them because that’s our specialization. And then as a digital bookseller, we have applications for reading and e-readers” and added that “when we talk to accessibility, this is like huge for us. Huge for us in a sense that we take it very seriously…We started working on this then basically the way it affects us first is obviously the metadata that we are receiving as also as one session mentioned, there’s very few accessibility metadata received. And the big challenge also for us is to have all the files and the ePubs could be accessible and have accessible structure that would be on the site of the catalogue, on the site of the Ereaders. Even though we work a lot, we have more than different types of fonts. Besides that, we are working on the textbook speech, we are working on a DRM accessible, we are looking at different options. Then we have a big challenge there on the website, on the Kobo web store we are also implementing more and more different accessibility information needed. We are planning to be ready before 2025”.
You can see in this video the rest of the explanation about the work Kobo is doing focused on accessibility.
Ted van der Togt explained that the Netherlands’ National Library has been busy along with publishers and specialised organizations and they don’t see things not moving very quickly yet, by other hand that the Library is “in talks now and this year we want to make together very good accessible titles from all kind of publishers, have them tested by LIA so we have the good metadata, we have the good things inside, which we know that they’re really good. We are going to test them with a big panel of blind, visual impaired and dyslexic visually impaired to see if this is really going to help them”.
You can see in this video the rest of the explanation about the role of Netherlands National Library in accessibility and the rest of this session, focused his questions on the main challenges to push things forward on this field.
Arantza Larrauri is graduated in Business Administration from ESADE, where she also obtained an MBA, Larrauri completed her training in Arizona, at Thunderbird School, where she obtained a Master in International Management. Larrauri has been working in the book industry for nineteen years. In 2010 she joined Libranda as Managing Director, the leading international distributor of digital books in the Spanish language. Since the integration of Libranda in the Canadian digital services company, De Marque Group, she is also playing the role of Europe and LATAM market manager at De Marque. Previously, she worked in the commercial area of the publishing group Random House Mondadori (currently Penguin Random House) and in Círculo de Lectores, occupying various positions in the central offices that the book club had in Spain and Portugal. At Libranda and at De Marque, Larrauri and the team work with publishers, stores, libraries and other agents with the aim of developing digital services for the book industry. She believes that it is an opportunity and a great challenge to participate in the evolution of a sector.
Silvia Clemares was always interested in the cultural and social transformations in the digital era, started in 2006 by defining and implementing the formerly independent Grup62’s website, online marketing strategy, and digital publishing plan and business model. Since 2011, at Rakuten Kobo, the world’s digital bookseller created by and for book lovers, works on expanding the general catalogue (with a special focus on Spanish and Portuguese languages) and cooperating with publishers and Kobo partners to its growing performance at Rakuten Kobo. She is also an Affiliated Academic Staff in the Master of Digital Publishing at UOC.
Ted Van der Togt is researcher at Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB), The Nataional Library of the Netherlands. Previously he worked as Project manager in Stichting Bibliotheek.nl.
His experience is also linked to the industry or financial sector in private companies during the earlier years of his career. He worked as Consultant R&D in Dedicon and as Business analyst in ABN AMRO Bank N.V and as consultant in KEMA Consulting and in VDA. He graduated from Delft University of technology.
Luis González. Director General at Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez (FGSR). After a degree in Law was selected for the Senior Administrators Corp (Spanish National Administration) and worked in several Ministries at senior posts. As a civil servant also was member of the Board of Directors at Enresa, the JET Steering Committee and was awarded with the C.D.S.R. de Peñafort. During this period at the Ministry of Culture designed and directed the first National Reading Promotion Plan (2001/4). At FGSR he Participated in the design of Casa del Lector and launched several projects as Readmagine, Renodo, Canal Lector, Lecturalab, Lectyo, Lectylab or PARIX and participated in EU projects (Tisp, Redes1234, Aldus Up, Sidt). Luis is Vice-President of the Spanish Association of Foundations.