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Self-Publishing News: Preparation For The Accessibility Act Underway For Ebook Producers (and The Digital Services Act Is Here)

Self-Publishing News: Preparation for the Accessibility Act Underway for Ebook Producers (and the Digital Services Act is Here)

ALLi News Editor, Dan Holloway

If you have been following this ALLi column for any length of time you will know that few things get me quite so excited as European Union law. So, this week I am absolutely in clover. I have two stories for you on my favourite subject.

Digital Services Act

First up is a monumental day that has not received the attention it might have done in the mainstream media. In part this may be because EU law goes through so many stages and committees that it can be easy to lose track of what stage something is at from idea to actually impacting our lives. But for the Digital Services Act, the date that really matters is February 15 2024. The date the Act becomes law.

The act is aimed at “very large online platforms.” The EU has so far identified 19 of these. They include Amazon. And Google Play. Smaller platforms will need to comply with fewer regulations. The Act aims to protect people online. Especially minors. That involves strict moderation, ensuring protection from illegal content, transparency, and making sure children’s data don’t get used by advertisers.

But although the act is now in force, it is clear that companies aren’t ready. And neither they nor the regulators even know how much of it can be enforced, particularly around questions such as how to protect children without invasive age verification measures that would in themselves be harmful to children’s privacy. So it is likely that there will be a long interim phase in which we find out how this will shake out in practice. The area that has interested us most as indies is around advertising transparency, which has the potential to out a lot of pseudonymous authors.

European Accessibility Act

Talking of the complex path of EU legislation, the next story focuses on something that will have a big impact in a little while. But one where companies not only know what to do but are taking steps to do it in advance. The European Accessibility Act comes into force at the end of June 2025. It will require new products and services in key areas to be accessible for disabled consumers. Ebooks are one of those key areas.

A new Italian-based initiative, APACE (Accelerating Publishing Accessibility Through Collaboration in Europe), is seeking to help publishers prepare for the new requirements. Right now it is looking at the state of ebook accessibility as things stand. It brings together publishers from across the European Union and will involve everything from best practice dissemination to policy papers. As we are all, as indie authors, our own publishers, it would be well worth us keeping apace (as it were) of the progress towards this deadline.

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Author: Dan Holloway

Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines, which has appeared at festivals and fringes from Manchester to Stoke Newington. In 2010 he was the winner of the 100th episode of the international spoken prose event Literary Death Match, and earlier this year he competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transparency-Sutures-Dan-Holloway-ebook/dp/B01A6YAA40


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