Inspiring Words from Industry Leaders: Interview with Hugo Setzer, The International Publishers Association

Photograph of Hugo Setzer, subject of this interviewInclusive Publishing has embarked on a series of interviews with industry leaders and their approach to accessibility. Hugo Setzer, CEO of Manual Moderno, a leading publishing house in Mexico City, is also Vice-President of the International Publishers Association and is personally committed to accessible publishing and to building awareness throughout the industry.

If you are serious about inclusive publishing, making it public and having a policy is the first step. It will allow you to inform and align forces within the company and to keep your commitment.

Why is inclusive publishing important to you and your organization?

First, I am convinced it is the right thing to do. For two years in a row our company has been included in the list of the Best Workplaces for Diversity and Inclusion in Mexico (Great Place to Work, Mexico) and we are convinced inclusion is not only important for our people, but for our customers as well. In addition, the International Publishers Association, where I am currently serving as Vice-President, fully supports and promotes accessible publishing. Our President, Michiel Kolman, is on the board of the Accessible Books Consortium.

Do you have a top tip for others new to accessibility?

Get started. Confucius said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Stay consistent and, as Huw Alexander from SAGE says, don’t worry about failing once in a while, you will. Learn from others.

What do you wish you knew about accessibility 5 or 10 years ago?

I would have liked to be more aware about the importance of accessible publishing for persons with a visual disability. A colleague in my company, who is blind, had her family read out her textbooks in college for her so that she was able to major in communications. There were no accessible books available at the time.

What do you think will be the biggest game changer for inclusive publishing in the next few years?

I think technology for one thing, but I am also confident the landscape will change dramatically. Today less than 10% of publications are available in accessible formats. With all the efforts from so many publishers around the world, I am sure that number will show a sharp increase in the very near future.

For those still on the fence, why should they consider accessibility?

As mentioned, it is the right thing to do. But I am convinced it also makes perfect business sense. We have expanded our potential customer base and by improving the accessibility of our content, we are able to produce better e-books as well.

How have good inclusive publishing practices influenced the majority of your readers?

As we are only starting this journey, that is something we don’t know yet, but we expect it will have a positive impact. As consumers, we no longer just buy the cheapest product, we also want to make sure the company which produces it is aware and socially responsible.

Why should companies consider publishing a policy on Inclusive Publishing?

If you are serious about inclusive publishing, making it public and having a policy is the first step. It will allow you to inform and align forces within the company and to keep your commitment.

Can you sum up your attitude towards inclusive publishing in one sentence?

Inclusive publishing is the right thing to do.

Do you have any final thoughts on accessibility or inclusive publishing practices you would like to share?

Don’t try to do everything immediately. Choose the titles which are best suited for inclusive publishing. In our company, for example, we have some profusely illustrated medical textbooks, which are not the best candidates for making them accessible, but there are many others that are.

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