The University of British Columbia Press (UBC Press) is committed to making its publications and electronic media accessible to the broadest possible audience. Our vision is to make UBC Press an accessible publishing organization: producing accessible publications, implementing accessible systems, and encouraging change among our peers and partners by setting high standards for accessibility in all that we do.
We recognize that some of our publications are in formats that are not accessible to all of our readers and are working to remediate as many of those publications as possible. Readers needing an alternate format of a UBC Press publication can acquire or request one as outlined in “Accessible Ebooks,” below.
Improvements that we’ve made include adding textual descriptions of all images (alt-text), including covers, as well as improving the underlying structure of our EPUBs in order to make them more screen-readable. Older titles are generally screen-readable in both EPUB or PDF forms, but are often missing image descriptions. Very old books (for example, books published prior to 2009) and books that are primarily illustration-based, such as guidebooks, are less likely to be available in an accessible format.
If you purchase an older ebook that does not meet your accessibility needs, please reach out to Brit Schottelius at accessibility[at]ubcpress.ca and we will work with you to prepare a usable file whenever possible. Similarly, if you are attending a course and require an accessible edition of a UBC Press book, please visit our Accessible Editions page for instructions.
Accessible Ebook Software
Available ebook reading systems vary widely in their support for accessibility features. Visit EPUB Test for accessibility support information for specific platforms.
We recognize that our website does not yet fully meet accessibility standards. We plan to address this in the future to ensure that the website meets WCAG 2.1 standards per the University of British Columbia guidelines. In the short-term, our goal is to display the specific accessibility features of each ebook on its book page.
The accessibility committee meets regularly to set the accessibility direction for UBC Press, advise on practices to create born-accessible publications, and implement accessible technologies and systems. Currently, it is working on:
- Clearly defining, for customers, which accessibility features are included in each ebook available on our website;
- Investigating the viability of producing audiobooks as part of our regular workflow;
- Constantly improving the accessibility of the ebooks we produce and ensuring that as standards change, our processes do as well.
Past work has included:
- Training for acquisition and production staff on the creation of accessible books;
- Working with vendors to implement and support accessibility features in EPUBs and PDFs;
- Fully incorporating alt-text into our production workflows, including developing clear guidelines for our authors, who are now required to provide it with their manuscript submission;
- Achieving Benetech certification for accessible EPUBs.
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