Elsevier Enables Its E-Books to Read Aloud, Increasing Access for People with Print Disabilities

Text-to-speech option enabled for all Elsevier ePub book titles

Amsterdam, 8 December, 2010 – Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and solutions, announced today that it has enabled the text-to-speech option on all of its ePub book titles. The text-to-speech function enables an e-book to read aloud. This will facilitate access by readers who would otherwise face a range of access challenges through blindness, dyslexia, or motor difficulties. 

With 10-15% of the global population struggling with some form of print disability, the accessibility of publications is essential to open up access for a broad array of people. Text-to-speech enables access by people with disabilities who might otherwise struggle to see, read, or interact with e-books. Elsevier is committed to providing universal access to quality content in sustainable ways, and works to identify and close access gaps. For those who struggle to see or read text, e-books that read aloud can provide a powerful form of access. This will make it easier for bright and talented people who happen to have print disabilities to become scientists in the future.

Dr Alicia Wise, Director of Universal Access at Elsevier, said: “Elsevier and the publishing industry are working hard to make more publications accessible to people with print disabilities. There is much more work to be done in partnership with accessibility experts and a range of software developers and device manufacturers. For example, there are key challenges related to the accessibility of highly structured and illustrated textbooks, mathematical formulae, and highly specialised and interactive scientific databases. All of our products and services must work well together to ensure that accessible content can be discovered and used by a person with print disabilities.” 

Recognised for its accessibility efforts by receipt of the first Publisher Lookup Award in April 2010 Elsevier continues to be very active in accessible publishing initiatives at industry level, cooperating with industry bodies such as the International Publishers Association (IPA), the Federation of European Publishers (FEP), the Publishers Association (PA), the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers (STM). 

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence,and ClinicalKey—and publishes over 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works.

The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world leading provider of professional information solutions in the Science, Medical, Legal and Risk and Business sectors, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

Media contact
Harald Boersma
Senior Manager, Corporate Relations, Elsevier
+31 20 485 27 36
H.Boersma@elsevier.com