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EAA Case Study: France

graphic representing the European Union with an illustration of the Eiffel Tower within representing France

The European Accessibility Act has galvanized many European countries and The DAISY Consortium has been pleased to take part in many interesting and collaborative conversations with partners, members and interested parties.

Each country has their own story and their own unique set of experiences in approach to the EAA and we are attempting to capture some of these in our series of case studies. The more we can share and learn from each other, the better prepared we hope everyone will be.

France, An Overview

Books have always played a major role in spreading ideas, enriching our culture and encouraging lively debate. Access to books remains a fundamental human right and this right is reinforced by the European Accessibility Act (EAA; Directive 2019/882) where the ebook ecosystem must comply with new accessibility obligations for products and services. Ebooks facilitate access to content for people who are print disabled: people with vision impairment or sight loss, people who have cognitive disabilities and people for whom a motor disability can prevent them from reading print. 

In France, the law of 9 March 2023 transposed the EAA into law, and its regulations will soon be available. This standard-setting work is the result of numerous consultations with all stakeholders, from ebook professionals to representatives of people with disabilities.

We Got Started Early

In 2018 a steering committee was formed for the development of accessible digital books (COPIL LINA25), bringing together public authorities, the many areas of the digital book industry and associations representing people with disabilities. One of the first action points was to develop a strategic plan to help prepare the sector for the EAA in June 2025.

This strategic plan was shortlisted for the 2021 International Award for Excellence in Accessible Publishing from the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC).

The Entire Ecosystem is Responsible

France has focused on the vital role that everyone in the digital book industry must play. Every organization within the ecosystem is responsible for conformance to the new accessibility legislation—not only retailers.

Challenges and Solutions

Several challenges have been identified by the steering committee. These include:

Necessary Clarifications to Ebook Provisions Within the Directive

A few ebook provisions still need to be clarified within the directive. L’Autorité de régulation de la communication audiovisuelle et numérique (ARCOM) has been appointed as the authority responsible for clarifying these provisions, working with professionals in the sector and representatives of the disability community. ARCOM is also empowered to investigate and record violations.

It is expected that companies will call upon ARCOM to interpret accessibility rules laid down by the EAA, particularly where there are still a few grey areas, e.g. the assessment of disproportionate burden.

Awareness-Raising and Training

The steering committee has recognized the need to raise awareness about the EAA obligations and, in April 2023, set up a working group, led by the French National Association for Publishers (SNE). This working group is concentrating on:

  • funding for training projects
  • disseminating good practices via awareness-raising
  • promoting technical guidelines
  • supporting the activities of the inter-ministerial steering committee for the development of born-accessible digital books

The aim is to encourage all professionals in the digital book sector to improve their practices, whether or not they are directly concerned with the obligations of the directive.

Activites of the French Publishing Industry

The “Normes & standards” group of the SNE has been working on technical accessibility guidelines for professionals in the ebook sector. Of particular note is the Technical Charter for the production of born-accessible EPUBs as well as a summary of the accessibility of images in EPUBs.

Business events for ebook publishers are regularly organized:

  • Assises du livre numérique is an annual meeting to discuss publishing strategy in the digital age. Organized by the SNE, accessibility has been a burning topic for at least 7 years.
  • The annual Digital Publishing Summit, organized by EDRLab and the Readium Foundation, presents cutting-edge technologies that change the way digital content is produced, distributed and read. The 2023 edition devoted a significant part of its program to accessibility issues.

Financial and Technical Support

In order to estimate the additional costs required to produce accessible digital books, the French Ministry of Culture conducted an impact study with Accenture in early 2022. Specific findings included:

  • To convert digital books published before 28 June 2025 into accessible files, the additional cost ranges between 49 and 98 million euros at the French industry level.
  • For the production of new digital books published after 28 June 2025, the additional cost would be between 2.4 and 5.6 million euros per year at the industry level.

These costs vary depending on file structuring upgrades and the writing of alternative texts to images.

The public authorities have committed to providing financial assistance to the ebooks industry to ensure the production of a large  of number born-accessible digital books.

The Accessible Backlist eBooks Lab (ABELab) project, funded by the European Creative Europe fund and co-lead by EDRLab, the LIA Foundation and the Royal Library of the Netherlands, aims to clarify the cost of accessibility by type of books. ABELab provides guidelines to European publishers for the conversion of their digital book ‘stock’. This is an 18-month research and development project, running from January 2023 to June 2024.

Accessibility of Education Materials

The accessibility of education materials raises strong political expectations from all stakeholders.

A working group, led by the Ministry of National Education and Youth, will work in the following months on making education content accessible. This group will encourage collaboration between public authorities and educational publishers, working on accessibility guidance for teachers and parents to clarify needs and identify tools available.

At the same time, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research is also working on accessibility guidelines for students and researchers.

Making Accessible Ebooks Discoverable

EDRLab leads a project focused on informing users about accessibility features that are available to them within ebooks. In the first instance, online booksellers and national lending websites need to be provided with tools that can help them improve the quality of services they provide to people with disabilities. By involving members in research work, EDRLab has fostered useful debate on accessibility issues.

These activities have resulted in 2 recommendations:

  1. To inform readers about how they can find relevant accessible information about ebooks
  2. To spread good practice within the ebook ecosystem, including authors, publishers, distributors and booksellers, about how to describe accessibility features within ebook content.

In addition, at the Inter-ministerial Committee on Disability held in October 2022, the Government launched two projects to give disabled people access to reading material: the creation of a national platform for accessible publishing and a production strategy for adapted books. This national platform will enable users to find, on a single online interface, all born-accessible or adapted books.

Technical Standards

France recognizes the two W3C international technical standards:

Our thanks to EDRLab & Direction générale des médias et des industries culturelles (ministère de la Culture) for this case-study on the work being undertaken in France. If you are interested in taking part in a similar case-study please contact us for further information.  

EAA Case Study: Lithuania

The EU flag with an icon of The Gediminas Castle Tower in Vilnius in the middleThe European Accessibility Act has galvanized many European countries and The DAISY Consortium has been pleased to take part in many interesting and collaborative conversations with partners, members and interested parties.

Each country has their own story and their own unique set of experiences in approach to the EAA and we are attempting to capture some of these in our new series of case-studies. The more we can share and learn from each other, the better prepared we hope everyone will be.  


This case study looks at the work undertaken in Lithuania where we spoke with Inga Davidoniene from The Lithuanian Library for the Blind  (LLB). Founded in 1966, LLB’s purpose is to “meet the informational and cultural needs of people who are not able to read regular printed text”. LLB is the largest producer of content in accessible formats (braille, audio, DAISY) in the country. With this in mind, LLB has 4 major focus areas:

  • To produce publications in traditional accessible formats and to experiment with new formats and ways to meet users’ needs  and to meet the requirements of European legislation
  • To foster cooperation with publishing organisations in Lithuania
  • To increase awareness on inclusive publishing
  • To bridge the gap between publishers and readers with specific needs

Preparation for the European Accessibility Act neatly falls into all four of these work areas!

The digital publishing market in Lithuania is fairly small, with 200 publishers producing approximately 500 ebooks per year, either in EPUB or PDF. Up to this point, consideration of the accessibility features available in both formats has not been high on publishers’ priority lists and there is a noticeable lack of awareness in the market. Accessibility is a new topic for publishers here and LLB has been actively trying to show the industry that accessible books are good for business, demonstrating how they can connect with a new audience. More than half a million people in Lithuania are not able to read printed books. It’s very important for publishers identify this audience and for people with special needs to receive the books in the format they need. LLB acts as bridge between these two groups. This approach is working very well and at a recent mainstream event it was noted:

Our Future is Accessibility

This was a major milestone for Inga and her team.

Industry and International Collaboration to Increase Awareness

Implementation of the EAA in Lithuania is the responsibility of The Ministry of Social Security and Labour and a draft of the new domestic accessibility legislation is expected soon. The ministry set up a working group aiming to transpose the EEA into national law and it includes representatives from other ministries together with delegates from public and private institutions. LLB is a member of this working group and participates in all activities and discussions about accessibility.

As yet, there are no firm implementation plans for the EAA but the forum is working towards this goal and are at the early stages. Ministry funding is expected to be made available this year in order to develop this formal approach.

In addition to this, in 2021 LLB invited publishers, disability organizations and delegates from the ministries of Culture, Education, Science and Sport and Social Security and Labour to talk about accessible text-books. By bringing together so many stakeholders it was possible to concentrate on how the EAA will affect the publishing industry in Lithuania, particularly considering that from 2024 all Lithuanian schools will be obliged to admit all students with individual needs.

LLB also promotes international collaboration and knowledge exchange in this field. In 2003, Lithuania joined the Federation of European Publishers and a close collaboration with FEP has allowed further European connections to develop. Working together with the LIA Foundation in Italy, for example, has enabled the Lithuanian market to build on their need for guidance and training with the LIA guidance being translated at the end of 2021.

Raising Awareness via Events

Raising awareness via industry events has been a key part of the EAA implementation strategy in Lithuania and LLB works closely with the Lithuanian Publishers Association  to set these up. In 2020 the online seminar “What do you need to know about the European Accessibility Act” included representatives from FEP and LIA  and this event kick-started future gatherings in Lithuania.

The Lithuanian Publishers Forum, held in 2021 discussed the topic “Books For All” and, as a result, publishers are now inviting Inga and her colleagues to speak at industry and in-house events which has been crucial for awareness building and EAA preparation.

During Book Week 2022, Inga chaired a panel discussion entitled “What do those who read differently read?” A discussion with readers about various book formats explored the need for accessible content and received much attention during this high profile week.

The Personal Touch

Publishers are beginning to take notice and to understand the importance of accessible content. Inga remarked that individual discussions with publishers are the most effective way to convey the accessibility message and to introduce colleagues to their virtual library service “ELVIS” which carries the possibility of attracting new audiences. ELVIS is one of the most important products created by LLB, allowing people with reading disabilities to look for and access their desired accessible publications at home. This service is adapted to the needs of visually impaired users – the system has a simple user interface, the possibility to change the print size, colours of the text and screen background. Currently 14,400 accessible book titles are available on ELVIS. Books are available in different formats including: audio, DAISY, accessible PDF and digital braille. Users can read/listen to books by streaming them online or downloading to their devices. Until recently, only publications created by LLB were available on ELVIS but, since 2022, the virtual library also makes available ebooks and audio books acquired from publishers.

Top Tips for Other Publishers on Their Accessibility Journey

  • Be stubborn and stick with it! This process is slow and it’s important to take small steps to achieve your goal.
  • Understand how international colleagues are progressing and learn from them.

Our thanks to Inga for her collaboration on this case-study. If you are interested in the work being done by LLB in this area or would be interested in taking part in a similar case-study please contact us for further information. The other case-studies in this series are available on our EAA Resources page.