AIPI participant logos

Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative

Barangaroo, Sydney, Friday 1 November, 2019




Representatives of the publishing industry, authors, libraries, copyright organisations, disability associations, government and accessible format providers came together on 1 November 2019 for the fourth annual meeting of the Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative.


The purpose of the meeting was to assess progress on the projects developed at the previous meetings in November 2016, 2017, and 2018, to consolidate the lessons of the past three 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. 


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. 



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


The Initiative acknowledges and reaffirms the following lessons from previous fora:

  • achieving equal accessibility is only possible when inclusivity is embedded into the process;
  • inclusive publishing reaches beyond limited definitions of print disability to encompass a broader notion of consumer need, and 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 identifying and completing specific measures 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 new directions for the Initiative are:

  • to have a deeper engagement with the book design community on accessibility;
  • to engage with key technology and software companies whose products are used in the production of e-books and print books;
  • to more actively encourage the uptake of inclusive publishing practice by recruiting accessibility champions across the publishing industry;
  • to communicate some of the Australian publishing industry successes in implementing accessible publishing.



The Forum revisited the proposed outcomes from 2018 and agreed on seven desired outcomes to be carried out up until 2023:


2019 outcomes for 2023
Industry recognises need and opportunities for inclusive publishing
Widely adopted standard part of publishing process
Everything accessible for new publications and by default available
An adaptable, collaborative, open, sharing and accessible industry
Every consumer wants and understands accessible publishing
Australian publishing gaining global recognition
Synergies with digital ecosystems in aligned areas
Mandated by need, accessibility and business model is working
The AIPI is a relevant, inclusive and powerful forum.



The Forum agreed to the following strategic investments:

  • Internal collaborations
  • External partnerships
  • Educating publishing sector
  • Dedicated co-ordination
  • Mobilise champions and leaders
  • Source funding
  • Building and supporting standards
  • Raise profile, awareness of AIPI and celebrate success.


Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative Projects 2018–2019 Update


Project Status
1 AIPI (knowledge hub) website Complete
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 Inclusive Publishing and Making Content Accessible Guides Complete
4 Run first successful inclusive publishing production workshop WIPO/ABC curriculum pending publication

Needs resourcing

5 Develop a PR and communications strategy (including mainstream press and industry events e.g. awards) In development
6 Build AIPI business plan to secure appropriate funding  Commenced

National Arts and Disability Strategy submission complete

7 Published inclusive publishing business case study Complete
8 Identified new key players to join the AIPI forum  Commenced


Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative Projects 2019–2020 


  1. Develop and begin rollout of inclusive publishing training for book industry professional associations
  2. Include accessibility as part of day-long event on future of publishing at BookUp conference 2020
  3. Create accessibility plans for all forum members 
  4. Continue to collate and publish relevant content on the AIPI website
  5. Promote three to five case studies in inclusive publishing
  6. Gain public commitment from >5 leading publishers for inclusive publishing of all new books by 2025
  7. Scope a potential inclusive publishing index to measure industry standards and track progress
  8. Support National Library of Australia and Libraries Australia to develop and implement accessibility cataloguing standards
  9. Nominate a representative to EPUB3 and W3C learning group
  10. Create university library forum addressing print accessibility
  11. Secure $2.2M to resource key AIPI projects


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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