[Athen] Converting EPUB to PDF

George Kerscher kerscher at montana.com
Wed Aug 29 11:43:31 PDT 2018

Hi Susan,

Glad to see that you are open minded, and I hope we can find some time at AHG.

It is true that students will need to learn how to use an EPUB reader of some kind, and it is not as simple as we would like. The choice depends on if the school has agreements with venders like VitalSource, RedShelf or others for the supply of materials. Fortunately these organizations are committed to accessibility. VitalSource can import unprotected EPUB, which is good news.

I do believe that the digital publishing standards will continue to evolve, and we want them to be accessible out of the box. This is the way to get us out of this nightmare of modifying materials, tagging PDF, which you know all too well.

Now, how do we get the professors to produce EPUB instead of PDF? Just imagine not having to tag all those PDF, grin!


From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Susan Kelmer
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2018 9:01 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Converting EPUB to PDF

I appreciate your perspective, George. I am resistant to ePubs as part of classroom curriculum at the college level because I still see issues with the navigation of ePubs (aka, lack of page numbering!). My students are completely full of “nope” about it, as it means they need to use something other than they are already using to read their files. I get that – they are busy and have enough of a struggle just getting through their coursework without having to learn Yet Another Way of accessing materials that they’ve accessed successfully before using a single method.

I will say that Macmillan includes page numbering in their ePubs. This is a HUGE plus for them, and a huge shift for me. But I’m not giving out ePubs from anyone else at this point. They are not up to par with what the student is expecting, nor what they need.

I’m interested to see how this plays out at AHG this year. I WILL be paying attention. I was paying attention last year (I’m looking at YOU, Pearson!) and was wholly unimpressed and not willing to make that shift yet for my students.

Also, I’m remembering how we were all told “DAISY will be the new standard” and in the end, it wasn’t. Will ePub be the “new standard?” That remains to be seen…

Susan Kelmer
Alternate Format Production Program Manager
Disability Services
University of Colorado Boulder

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu <mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> > On Behalf Of George Kerscher
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2018 8:53 AM
To: 'Access Technology Higher Education Network' <athen-list at u.washington.edu <mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu> >
Subject: Re: [Athen] Converting EPUB to PDF


At the recent AHEAD conference, there was a booth comparing the reading experience between PDF and EPUB. By far, the people saw the advantages of the modern EPUB format.

In the W3C, the standards setting body, EPUB is being developed as the best mechanism for digital publishing. There is also the EPUB Accessibility Conformance and Discovery specification, which is being widely adopted. There is also the Accessibility Checker for EPUB (Ace by DAISY), which helps the publishers ensure their publications are fully accessible. The current recommendation is WCAG AA for materials in education. We also recommend that the publishers provide detailed descriptions of graphical content that conveys meaningful information to students.

There will be a track on digital publishing at the upcoming AHG conference. Plus I will encourage the ATN and others to post short educational articles to help folks here and elsewhere learn about the many advantages of EPUB.

For now, Here are two links to information about Reading Apps used for reading EPUB, because of course, not only must the content be accessible, but the Reading App used to read it must be accessible. We have been testing with a wide range of Assistive Technology.

Here is the list of reading Apps at a high level:

and here is the formal testing results of many, many apps.

If I can be of any help, even helping a student identify a Reading App and AT combination, I would be happy to help.


George Kerscher Ph.D.
-In our Information Age, access to information is a fundamental human right.
Chief Innovations Officer, DAISY Consortium
Senior Advisor, Global Literacy, Benetech
President, International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF)
Member of the National Museum and Library Services Board (IMLS)
Chair Steering Council Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), a division of the W3C
Phone: +1 406/549-4687
Cell:+1 406/544-2466
Email: kerscher at montana.com <mailto:kerscher at montana.com>

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu <mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> > On Behalf Of Robert Spangler
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2018 6:54 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu <mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu> >
Subject: [Athen] Converting EPUB to PDF

Hello, is it possible to convert from EPUB to PDF and, if so, how would I go about doing it? We distribute PDFs only to our students unless otherwise requested, but a publisher on AccessText is stating that Epub is the only option available from them.

Robert Spangler
Disability Services Technical Support Specialist
rspangler1 at udayton.edu <mailto:rspangler1 at udayton.edu>
Office of Learning Resources (OLR) - RL 023
Ryan C. Harris Learning & Teaching Center (LTC)
University of Dayton | 300 College Park | Dayton, Ohio 45469-1302
Phone: 937-229-2066
Fax: 937-229-3270
Ohio Relay: 711 (available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing)
Web Site: http://go.udayton.edu/learning
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