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Better ebook availability

THE decision by the European Commission to prioritise the availability of ebooks is a positive step for people with visual disabilities according to Seanad Spokesperson on Justice, Disability and Equality Martin Conway.

The Clare senator said the decision to render the commitments offered by the UK publishing company Penguin, regarding the sale of ebooks in the EU as legally binding is welcome news.

“The Commission is prioritising the availability of ebooks by making publishers subject to legally enforceable rules. This decision will help to restore a competitive environment in the market for ebooks and will give retailers freedom to discount ebooks, subject to certain conditions,” he said.

He added that, as a person with a disability, he is all too aware of the limited availability of ebooks.

“I am hopeful that this decision, together with the recent World Intellectual Property Organisation Treaty to improve access to books for the visually impaired, will contribute to creating a favourable environment for competition in the ebooks market and will eliminate barriers which prevent the blind and visually impaired from having access to published books,” he said.

He explained the Commission previously investigated the ebook market and “determined that Penguin, together with four other international publishers and Apple, may have contrived to limit price competition for ebooks in the EU, in breach of EU competition rules”.


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