DAISY Consortium's News Brief - # 2017-10a
Enjoy a concise selection of digital publishing news. Our main goal is to inform DAISY Members and Supporters about new e-reading technologies and related developments.

Ace, by DAISY – EPUB Accessibility Checker

An exciting new tool from the DAISY Consortium received its public beta release this week. Ace, the accessibility checker for EPUB, examines an EPUB file based on the new EPUB Accessibility 1.0 Conformance and Discovery Requirements. In this first release, technical experts in the publishing industry are being sought to test the Ace tool and provide feedback. You can read more about Ace and get involved on the Inclusive Publishing site. If you work with individuals or organisations from the publishing sector who could participate in testing the tool, please spread the word and encourage them to get involved. Through testing and feedback a second round of beta is scheduled in the coming months, before a full release towards the end of the year.

Upcoming Event - W3C Publishing Summit

November 9-10 2017, San Francisco, USA


This is the first event coordinated under Publishing@W3C, which was created after the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) formally combined organisations in February 2017. The event has presentations from industry experts, many of whom are likely to reference accessibility, and will include a session from DAISY and W3C specifically on “Accessibility in Publishing and W3C”.

DAISY Members are eligible for a 10% discount over the general price, obtain a discount code by sending a request to W3CPublishing@daisy.org from an account associated with your DAISY membership. The event has limited space, so early booking is highly recommended.

Kindle Enhance E-Reader Accessibility

The new Kindle Oasis, and updates to some existing Kindles have further enhanced accessibility support across the range. Most Kindles don’t have a built-in speaker or a headphone socket, which has historically limited the accessibility options for solutions conventionally delivered through audio. However, some of the Kindle range do support the Bluetooth communication protocol, and the latest update enables audio to be sent to a connected bluetooth audio device, typically a speaker or set of bluetooth headphones. A basic screen reader called VoiceView is also available, and when activated can with read Kindle content through text to speech, or even control the playback of pre-downloaded Audible audio book titles. This type of functionality has been present on the Kindle Fire tablet range for a while, but this update brings these abilities to some eInk devices for the first time. It’s promising to reflect on how far these historically inaccessible eInk devices have come, and this development sets an example that other device manufacturers will be able to draw inspiration from and aim to improve upon.

The Amazon website has further details of the Kindle Accessibility features.

Kobo Adds Audiobooks

Presumably in an effort to further competition with Amazon, Rakuten Kobo have recently added audiobooks to their existing eBook service which offers 5 million titles to 190 countries. As with Audible from Amazon, Kobo audiobooks are available to purchase on an individual basis, or can be accessed through a monthly subscription, which appears to be competitively priced. Like their competitors, Kobo also offer a free trial, so those curious about the service and range of the collection can trial the Kobo audiobook subscription without a financial commitment. At present, while audiobooks can be purchased through the Kobo website, they can only be consumed through the existing Kobo eBook Apps for iOS and Android, and unfortunately the accessibility of these Apps remains some distance behind their competition.

Visit the Kobo website for further details of their audiobook options in your region.

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