11th European e-Accessibility Forum
e-Accessible Culture

19/06/2017, 9am-6pm
Cité des sciences et de l'industrie, Paris

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Producing and distributing accessible e-books: the Swedish model

Jesper KLEIN
MTM/DAISY Consortium

Speaker's information

Jesper Klein

Since the early 2000s, Jesper Klein has been deeply committed to the long-term vision of making reading accessible to people with disabilities. Jesper was head of R&D at the Swedish Agency for Accessible Media (MTM) and led Sweden’s efforts to digitise accessible books and newspapers, resulting, among other things, in the launch of the Legimus online library for people with disabilities in Sweden in 2013. Legimus now has over a million loans per year and counts more than 75 000 active users. As innovation leader and part of MTM's management, Jesper is specialised in analysing disruption to mainstream publishing brought about by the digitisation of reading. In Spring 2017 he was involved in drawing up a national library strategy for the Swedish Ministry of culture and democracy. As chair of the Daisy Consortium board - Jesper is active in governing a global organisation that develops open standards and practices for a better way to read and publish in the digital era globally.



People should have equal access to information and knowledge regardless of disability. To be able to access information enables and empowers people to participate in education, news, work, culture – the fabrics of the democratic society.

It is estimated that 5% of the world's population have “print disabilities”. Despite the wonderful opportunities that modern digital publishing and assistive technology offer, there is still long way ahead before people with disabilities can access all their reading materials at the same time, at equal cost, through the same distribution channels with the same reading systems and feature-rich convenient user experience as everyone else.

Sweden, with a population of 10 million, has at least 60 years of active inclusion policies and public-funded accessible reading. It formed the DAISY Consortium in the 1990s and is a typical example of an early adoptor of digital accessible reading. Its figures rank highly internationally:

The Swedish agency for accessible media (MTM) is commissioned and funded by the Ministry of Culture in Sweden to make reading accessible for people with print disabilities. It has 100 employees and €20,000,000 funding. One of the core operations of the agency is the online service Legimus (Latin for "we read") – a digital library of over 120 000 accessible books targeting people with print disabilities of all ages all over Sweden.

Despite the fact that Swedes have high education level and high internet use, it has been relatively slow in adopting the commercial e-book – a common phenomena in small language markets. This means accessible reading is still highly dependent on public-funded services. However the tide is turning. Sales of e-books and audio books doubled in 2016 and it is likely that much more inclusion of people with print disabilities will happen in the mainstream in the future.

Watch Jesper Klein's presentation on YouTube. For subtitles, please use the CC button, and if you require a transcript do not hesitate to contact us at contact[at]


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