Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative

Barangaroo, Sydney, Friday 2 November, 2018



Representatives of the publishing industry, authors, libraries, copyright, disability associations, government and accessible format providers came together on 2 November for the third annual meeting of the Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative (formerly the Marrakesh Treaty Forum).


The purpose of the meeting was to assess progress on the projects developed at the previous meetings in November 2016 and 2017, to consolidate the lessons of the last two years, and to set ambitious plans for the next 12 months in order to increase access to published material for people living with print disabilities in Australia.



The Marrakesh Treaty aims to increase the amount of material available to those with a print disability by facilitating access to published material within nations and across borders. The Marrakesh Treaty covers both physical impairment in terms of vision as well as the motor capability of manipulating a book to the perceptual impairment of dyslexia.


Australia has had exceptions under copyright law to make published material available to the print-disabled for many years. As a signatory to the Marrakesh Treaty, Australian print-disability organisations can provide accessible format copies of published material to other signatory countries and, in turn, can import accessible format publications.


Globally, it is estimated that as few as 10% of published books are available in an accessible format. While there have been many advances in technology, and even with an increased availability of accessible format material from overseas under the Treaty, people living with a print disability are still significantly disadvantaged.



The Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative (AIPI) has built over the past two years a collaborative, consultative and consensus-based approach to tackling accessibility problems founded on cross-sector understanding, trust and respect.


The Initiative acknowledges the following lessons:

  • achieving equal accessibility is only possible when inclusivity is embedded into the solution process;
  • inclusive publishing reaches beyond limited definitions of print disability to encompass a broader notion of consumer need, and that this is the basis of the business case for inclusive publishing;
  • we have moved from talking about books, with all the assumptions of print-based products, and specific formats, to talking about content that is ready for all formats;
  • we have moved from a phase of building a forum to building industry capability through measure for practical implementation;
  • we, as representatives of several industries, remain in a transition phase that demands agility and continual adaptation in order to achieve our desired outcomes.



The Forum revisited the proposed outcomes from 2017 and agreed on seven desired outcomes for 2022:


2016 outcomes for 2021 2017 outcomes for 2022 2018 outcomes for 2022
Increased community and business awareness High community and business awareness of accessible content High community and business awareness of accessible content
50% increased level of accessible content Seamless discoverability of accessible content Effective seamless discoverability of accessible content
Inclusion is the default standard, improving the experience for all Inclusive publishing is the norm for all new content
A global central metadata repository that integrates commercial and non-commercial titles Agreed set of accessibility standards which become the default for published materials
Establish an equitable and sustainable economic model in which authors and publishers are paid Equitable and sustainable economic model in which authors, publishers and others in the supply chain receive the appropriate recompense Proven sustainable and equitable business model
Independent service-based conversion process Australian publishing gaining global recognition and opening new markets
Publishing industry is itself accessible (for authors, editors, designers with a print disability…)
Establish a formalised, cross-sector group that speaks with one voice and a shared knowledge base Shared understanding and a common knowledge base, facilitated by a cross-sector group The AIPI is an inclusive and powerful forum



The Forum agreed to the following strategic investments:

  • Promote and expand AIPI
  • Build a communications strategy and Knowledge Hub to further the aim of mainstreaming inclusive publishing
  • Build and communicate the business case for inclusive publishing
  • Improve discoverability and supply (metadata and awareness) of accessible content
  • Develop upskilling and training strategy and materials for the publishing industry
  • Develop guidance for publishers to build accessibility into the publishing workflow
  • Secure support for the key projects of industry training, communications and supply solutions for both the commercial and non-commercial (print disability) sectors.


Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative Projects 2018


Project Status
1 Knowledge Hub website is live In development

Initial funding secured

2 Trove database, unifying the print disability sector libraries accessible format information

Interface with TitlePage, the metadata repository for the commercial market


Needs resourcing

3 Guides published (Copyright Guide, Introduction to Inclusive Publishing) Copyright guide complete

Production for guides has been funded

4 Run first successful Inclusive Publishing production workshop WIPO/ABC curriculum pending publication

Needs resourcing

5 Developed a PR and communications strategy (including mainstream press and industry events e.g. awards) In development
6 Built AIPI business plan to secure appropriate funding Submission to National Arts and Disability Strategy
7 Published Inclusive Publishing business case In development as part of the Introduction to Inclusive Publishing Guide
8 Identified new key players to join the AIPI Forum (e.g. Reading Hour, ABA, ALIA, Indigenous Literacy Foundation) To commence


The Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative will reconvene in a year’s time to report progress in making ‘born accessible’ a reality for all Australian readers.


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