NEW YORK, May 19 —Simon & Schuster is pleased to announce its Global Certified Accessible (GCA) designation in ebooks. The certification of the company’s digital files and workflow, administered by leading accessibility nonprofit Benetech, ensures that many Simon & Schuster ebook titles produced are now accessible. This means that all readers regardless of reading ability or physical barriers, such as blindness, low vision, or dyslexia, can enjoy immediate access to these ebooks without having to request and wait for an accessible version.
Benetech is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting equity in digital spaces with software for social good. Through GCA, the first-ever independent third-party accessible ebook certification program, Benetech helps publishers adjust their workflows to create “Born Accessible” ebook content. The program enables publishers to incorporate accessible specifications and practices into their production workflow while certifying ongoing conformance to accessible standards.
“Our Global Certified Accessible designation brings us one important step closer to our mission to publish a book for every reader,” said Jonathan Karp, President and CEO of Simon & Schuster. “We are pleased to help readers with disabilities have access to our extensive library of world class books.”
Moving forward, the great majority of newly released ebooks will be “Born Accessible,” and Simon & Schuster will continue to update backlist titles to meet the GCA requirements. Simon & Schuster backlist classics including The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie are now GCA-compliant, as well as modern classics such as All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, The Candy House by Jennifer Egan, Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward, Heavy by Kiese Laymon, and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Accessible titles span Simon & Schuster’s adult, children’s, UK, Canadian, and Australian ebook lists, with additional books added regularly.
Accessible improvements to Simon & Schuster’s ebooks are wide-ranging. While many of the optimizations are invisible on the screen, features like more robust navigation and landmark elements to help a reader quickly and easily navigate the ebook, improved screen reading capabilities, and real page numbering – which enables easy matching and reference of digital text to the related physical edition’s printed page – will be enjoyed by all readers.
“Every person deserves the opportunity to read, learn, and live independently,” said Ayan Kishore, Benetech CEO. “We applaud Simon & Schuster’s leadership and dedication to making information accessible.”
To become GCA-certified, the Simon & Schuster ebook team worked collaboratively with Benetech’s GCA Technical Team to review and receive feedback on the accessible specifications and features Simon & Schuster incorporates into its ebook production workflow. The company’s developers were able to respond to the requirements of accessible publishing through the creation of new tools, internal specifications, and practices. Once these accessible standards were achieved, Benetech certified Simon & Schuster’s conformance based on the WCAG 2.1 AA standard, ensuring that many of the ebooks Simon & Schuster publishes will now meet the international standards for accessible EPUB files.
“The ability to offer a large catalog of certified accessible ebook titles is the culmination of years of dedicated effort by Simon & Schuster’s ebook team and a testament to the effectiveness of Benetech’s GCA initiative,” said Alex Del Negro, Director of Ebook Development. “This work has the capacity to tear down the barriers that many readers struggle with, while providing a better and more robust experience for all who enjoy our digital content, regardless of ability. We are proud to be on the forefront of the trade industry’s move toward more accessible production practices and are committed to providing top-quality accessible ebooks going forward so that all readers have the support and resources they deserve in the books they love.”
US Students with qualifying reading barriers can get access to these books through Benetech’s Bookshare initiative. Accessible ebooks can be purchased through Benetech’s Born Accessible Bookstore on Vitalsource and via any online retailer.
About Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster, a Paramount Company, is a global leader in general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for readers of all ages, and in all printed, digital and audio formats. Its distinguished roster of authors includes many of the world’s most popular and widely recognized writers, and winners of the most prestigious literary honors and awards. It is home to numerous well-known imprints and divisions such as Simon & Schuster, Scribner, Atria Books, Gallery Books, Adams Media, Avid Reader Press, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing and Simon & Schuster Audio and international companies in Australia, Canada, India and the United Kingdom, and proudly brings the works of its authors to readers in more than 200 countries and territories. For more information visit our website at www.simonandschuster.com
Benetech is a nonprofit dedicated to reducing social and economic inequity in partnership with the communities that we serve through software for social good. Benetech’s initiatives are transforming how students, jobseekers, and older adults across the globe read, learn, and work. Benetech believes that access to information is a human right, and no person should encounter barriers to education, literacy, or employment due to differences or disability. Visit www.benetech.org
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