Benetech Adopts Readium, Advances EPUB 3 Accessibility

October 25, 2012

The IDPF today announced that Benetech, a non-profit technology provider based in Palo Alto, California, has become a Readium contributor and is adopting Readium technology for its Bookshare service. The Readium project, sponsored by the IDPF, is developing an open source EPUB 3 reading system. Benetech's Bookshare service will be utilizing Readium components in a new web reader that will work in conjunction with a cloud-based bookshelf, allowing qualified users with print disabilities to access their books and read online, directly in a browser, from school, home, and mobile devices. Benetech is also contributing accessibility features including screen reader integration back to the project. 

The Bookshare web-based reader based on Readium is expected to be released in Q1 2013 and is currently in limited beta. Accessibility capabilities include support for text to speech, variable font and colors, as well as synchronized word-by-word highlighting (initially only supported in Chrome). Later today IDPF Executive Director Bill McCoy will publicly demonstrate the Bookshare Readium integration during the Internet Archive's "Books in Browsers" conference in San Francisco, California.
Benetech's new reader is designed to present fully accessible EPUB 3  materials, which are those that follow the guidelines outlined in the IDPF and DAISY supported O'Reilly book Accessible EPUB 3, by Matt Garrish, and will support accessible images that follow the Content Model specified by the DIAGRAM Center.
"Benetech is delighted to be working together with the IDPF, the DAISY Consortium and other Readium supporters to advance content accessibility  said Betsy Beaumon, Vice President and General Manager, Benetech Literacy Program. "Fostering and utilizing a comprehensive consistent open source implementation of EPUB 3 via the Readium project is completely consistent with Benetech's belief that individuals with print disabilities should have the same ease of access to books and other publications as people without disabilities".
About Benetech
Benetech is a nonprofit technology company based in Palo Alto, California. Benetech pursues projects with a strong social rather than financial rate of return on investment, harnessing open source technology to create innovative solutions to challenging social issues. Programs that Benetech supports include the Bookshare library, DIAGRAM, Route 66 Literacy, the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, the Martus software project, and Social Coding for Good.
About Bookshare
Bookshare is the world's largest online accessible library of copyrighted content for people with print disabilities. Through its technology initiatives and partnerships, Bookshare seeks to raise the floor on accessibility issues so that individuals with print disabilities have the same ease of access to print materials as people without disabilities. In 2007, Bookshare received a five-year award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), to provide free access for all U.S. students with a qualified print disability. The Bookshare library now has over 150,000 books and serves more than 200,000 members. Bookshare is an initiative of Benetech, a Palo Alto, CA-based nonprofit which creates sustainable technology to solve pressing social needs.
About the IDPF
The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) is the global trade and standards organization for the digital publishing industry. IDPF is responsible for EPUB, the open standard digital publication format based on XML and Web technology, and organizes industry events such as Digital Book conference at BookExpo 2013. The IDPF is a not for profit organization whose 400 members include publishers, vendors, libraries and organizations from thirty different countries. EPUB is a registered trademark of the IDPF. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners.

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