EPUB Reading Apps Roundup – How to assess EPUB reading systems and how you can Stay Up to date on which to recommend


Presented at 3:30pm in Plaza Court 3 on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.



  • George Kerscher, Chief Innovations Officer, DAISY Consortium
  • Richard Orme, Chief Executive Officer, DAISY Consortium
  • Charles LaPierre, Technical Lead, DIAGRAM and Born Accessible, Benetech
  • Joseph Polizzotto, Alternative Media Supervisor, UC Berkeley

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


This session will present the evaluation of EPUB reading Apps from retailers, library vendors and publishers. You will learn how the different platforms compare in terms of navigation, visual adjustments, screen reader support and other personalization options. We will also explain how the information on Apps are regularly updated.


An essential component in an accessible EPUB ecosystem is the reading App. No matter how well an EPUB title conforms to EPUB accessibility requirements, the reading App may not expose the accessibility features, which would then present barriers to readers.

Which EPUB reading Apps support the features found in accessible EPUBs and provide the greatest support for users of assistive technology? We will present a systematic method for testing the accessibility of EPUB reading systems and share the results of our tests. Attendees will learn which EPUB reading systems currently offer the best reading experience for learners, and how you can stay abreast of improvements in the Apps.

We will discuss the following in Apps: - Navigation structure & page numbers - Read aloud with highlighting (Text to Speech) - Screen reader support - Personalization --Textual adjustments (foreground & background colors, line spacing, and font changes) - Image descriptions and alt text - Math content


  1. Attendees will learn about the good EPUB Reading Apps used by students with disabilities.
  2. DSO professionals will learn about what Apps to recommend to students depending on the disability.
  3. The Apps are being improved all the time, and we will learn about how to easily stay up to date.

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Assistive Technology, EPUB Track, Procurement, Uncategorized, Web/Media/App Access

Speaker Bio(s)

George Kerscher

George Kerscher Ph.D.

“Access to information is a fundamental human right.” 2003 to the United Nations George Kerscher began his IT innovations in 1987 and coined the term "print disabled." George is dedicated to developing technologies that make information not only accessible, but also fully functional in the hands of persons who are blind or who have a print disability. He believes properly designed digitally published materials and web pages can make information accessible to all people. George is an advocate for semantically rich content which can be used effectively by everybody. As Chief Innovations Officer of the DAISY Consortium, Senior Advisor, Global Literacy to Benetech, and member of Publishing Groups in the W3C, Kerscher is a recognized international leader in document access. In addition, Kerscher chairs the DAISY/NISO Standards committee, Chairs the Steering Council of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI, and also serves on the Advisory Board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Richard Orme

When teaching in a college in rural England more than 30 years ago, Richard encountered his first blind student, beginning a career in what we now refer to as accessibility. He has worked for local, national and international organizations, with young, old, and very old people, with visual, physical, dual sensory and cognitive disabilities. Having identified a critical lack of accessible curriculum materials in the UK, Richard led an initiative for a national database of accessible textbooks, now grown to become the national Education Collection operating as RNIB Bookshare. Richard is Chief Executive of the DAISY Consortium, the global organization whose mission is to develop standards and solutions for accessible publishing and reading. He volunteers in his community as a home visitor, providing technology support for people with disabilities. Richard’s brother James has a profound learning disability, and his son Jim has dyslexia.

Charles LaPierre

Charles has over 25 years’ accessibility development experience and has been a pioneer in accessible product development since 1993. Charles currently is a member of the W3C, Personalization Task Force of the APA, a member of the Publishing Working Group, and EPUB3 community group. Charles is the technical architect of the new Global Certified Accessible initiative at Benetech to certify publisher content as conforming to the new EPUB 1.0 Accessibility Specification. Charles has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

Joseph Polizzotto

Joseph Polizzotto is the Alternative Media Supervisor at UC Berkeley, where he serves students in the Disabled Students' Program (DSP). Joseph enjoys creating workflows for accessible instructional materials and helping students succeed. Joseph is an active contributor to the EPUB for Higher Education workgroup, which promotes the adoption of the EPUB format. Joseph has been in Higher Ed since 2005 and has been an accessibility specialist since 2013. He holds a B.A. in History from UC Santa Cruz and an M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from San José State University.