Cambridge University Press Grants Worldwide Digital Rights to Bookshare

Includes Academic and Educational Content from All Regions


For all Bookshare-related questions, please contact:

Valerie Chernek


Cambridge University Press Media Contact:

Hannah Gregory
Tel: +44 (0)1223 325544


Cambridge University Press Technical Contact:

Kevin Taylor
Tel: +44 (0)1223 326430


May 20, 2010, Cambridge, England and Palo Alto, CA – Cambridge University Press has entered into a license agreement with Bookshare, the California-based nonprofit organization that provides books in accessible formats for people with qualified print disabilities such as blindness or low vision, a physical disability or a severe learning disability that affects reading.

Under the terms of the digital rights license agreement, Cambridge will deliver academic and scholarly books from all of its regional publishing centers around the world to Bookshare for conversion into accessible formats.  Individuals with qualified print disabilities around the world will be able to download the books for a nominal Bookshare membership fee and read them using a computer or other assistive technology, with voice generated by text-to-speech technology, as well as options for digital Braille.  Qualified students in the U.S. will have free access to the books, thanks to a special award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.  

"We’ve been looking for an effective means of meeting the demand for accessible versions of our books," said Kevin Taylor, Director of Strategy and Intellectual Property at Cambridge.  "Bookshare enables us to reach individuals with print disabilities in a secure way.  Until publishers develop and commercialize accessible versions of their books for individuals with print disabilities, Bookshare will provide a valuable service by maintaining the infrastructure and bearing the expense of getting books securely, with appropriate digital rights management, to this clientele. We provide the files and Bookshare does the rest!"

Bookshare operates in the U.S. under an exception to copyright law known as the Chafee Amendment and is expanding internationally thanks to publishers providing digital files with worldwide copyright permissions.  In addition to worldwide availability of titles, this agreement supports Bookshare operations because digital files in EPUB format from publishers ease the challenge of creating digital accessible books.

"We’re delighted to welcome a publisher as prestigious as Cambridge to the growing list of organizations with which we have direct licensing agreements," said Jim Fruchterman, CEO of Benetech, the organization that operates Bookshare. "Cambridge’s titles expand the international content available to our worldwide members – a development of tremendous significance."

Publishers interested in contributing digital files to Bookshare for the benefit of individuals with print disabilities should contact Robin Seaman, Bookshare’s Publisher Liaison.  For a list of publishing partners, visit the Bookshare website.  

About Cambridge University Press
Over the past 425 years, Cambridge University Press has developed a reputation as a world-leading academic and educational publisher. As a department of the University of Cambridge, and as the oldest printer and publisher in the world, its purpose is to advance learning, knowledge and research worldwide.  The Press is both an academic and educational publisher, operating in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the Americas, and in Asia-Pacific.

About Bookshare

Bookshare is the world’s largest online accessible library for people with print disabilities. Through its technology initiatives and partnerships, Bookshare seeks to raise the floor on accessibility issues so that individuals with print disabilities have the same ease of access to print materials as people without disabilities. In 2007, Bookshare received a $32 million five-year award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), to provide free access for all U.S. students with a qualified print disability. The Bookshare library now has over 70,000 books and serves more than 90,000 members. Bookshare is an initiative of Benetech, a Palo Alto, CA-based nonprofit which creates sustainable technology to solve pressing social needs.


The content of this press release was developed under a cooperative agreement, H327K070001, with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.  However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.