Textbook Publishers Launch National Database to Help Students with Disabilities Succeed in College

AccessText Network Improves Students’ Access to College Textbook Content
WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ — The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has launched a new comprehensive national online database to make it easier and quicker for students with print-related disabilities, such as blindness or dyslexia, to obtain the alternative textbooks they need for their college courses.

The AccessText Network, developed in conjunction with the Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC) at the University of Georgia, has more than 300,000 textbook and novel titles available in alternative formats for students with disabilities.  More than 650 colleges and universities have enrolled to participate in the system.

“Before AccessText, students with disabilities often waited weeks or even months for these alternative textbooks, sometimes getting their materials only after their classes were well underway,” said Tom Allen, president and chief executive officer of AAP, whose higher education member publishers donated almost $1 million to fund the non-profit venture.  “Now, the AccessText Network is streamlining the permission process and facilitating quick access to content for these students.  It has leveled the playing field, setting students with disabilities on a course for success from their first day of class.”

Christopher Lee, director of AMAC at the University of Georgia, which operates the AccessText Network, said the new network is fulfilling orders for students in about four days on average. “And every day we’re adding more textbook titles and signing up more schools to participate, making us more effective for both disability service providers and students,” Lee said.

Since going live Aug. 24, the AccessText Network has fulfilled more than 3,000 requests for alternative format textbooks.

“Textbook publishers are dedicated to helping all students succeed, and we are proud to see the AccessText Network help make college education a reality for thousands of college students with disabilities,” Allen said.

The AccessText Network is being funded through donations from publishers Bedford/St. Martin’s, W.H. Freeman, and Worth Publishers; Cengage Learning; CQ Press; McGraw-Hill Education; W.W. Norton; Pearson; Reed Elsevier Inc.; and John Wiley & Sons.

AccessText Network
AccessText is a membership-based online database system that provides quick access to information about publishers’ course materials and speeds the process through which institutions request electronic versions of course materials for students with print disabilities or the permission to scan these course materials.  The AccessText Network can be found at www.AccessText.org.

The Association of American Publishers
The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP’s more than 300 members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies.  AAP’s Higher Education group represents the needs and interests of member publishers who produce instructional materials including textbooks and digital products and services for the post-secondary educational market.

The Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC), an initiative of the University System of Georgia, is committed to removing barriers and providing access to knowledge for individuals with physical, sensory, and learning print-related disabilities.

CONTACT:  Katie Test of AAP, +1-202-220-4556, or Christopher Lee of AMAC, +1-866-418-2750