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SQLA: Service québécois du livre adapté - Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

Frequently Asked Questions


Adapted books: production and distribution

Q. What is an adapted book?

A. An adapted book, also referred to using the terms alternative format, alternate format or print substitute, is a communication medium used instead of standard printed materials to provide people who have visual or perceptual impairments with access to reading. An adapted book can be a Braille book, an analogue audio book (on cassette), a digital book (in a file or on CD), a large print book, an electronic text or an AudioVision document.

Top of the page.Q. Why are your documents produced in alternative formats?

A. Alternative formats ensure compliance with the Copyright Act. They make protected works accessible only to persons with perceptual disabilities, as provided for in section 32 of the Act, which stipulates as follows:

32. (1) It is not an infringement of copyright for a person, at the request of a person with a perceptual disability, or for a non-profit organization acting for his or her benefit, to

(a) make a copy or sound recording of a literary, musical, artistic or dramatic work, other than a cinematographic work, in a format specially designed for persons with a perceptual disability;


Top of the page.Q. What are the advantages of a digital audio book recorded in DAISY format?

A. Truly revolutionary in the field of access to information, the digital audio, or talking, book recorded in DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) format allows visually impaired readers who have the necessary playback device (Victor) to easily navigate through the structure of a document (page, chapter, table of contents, etc.) and directly access the desired information. Digital talking books are produced as files in DAISY format and also distributed on CD-ROM. A DAISY digital talking book can include:

Variants of the three formats exist.

Top of the page.Q. The book I'd like to read isn't available on cassette. Could I have it on CD?

A. Analogue recordings are being converted to digital format gradually, at a rate of 500 titles a year. We are currently converting the first 500 titles: novels and non-fiction works among those most popular with our subscribers. Contact the SQLA to learn whether the book you want to read is now available on CD or in the process of being converted. If neither is the case, it will be entered on the list of titles to be converted next.

Top of the page.Q. What role does La Magnétothèque currently play compared with the Service québécois du livre adapté (SQLA)?

A. La Magnétothèque continues to produce adapted books, but it stopped lending documents in March 2005. La Magnétothèque records the titles selected and ordered by BAnQ .

Top of the page.Q. Does La Magnétothèque still lend books?

A. No. Under an agreement signed in August 2004, La Magnétothèque transferred its library service to BAnQ . BAnQ 's Service québécois du livre adapté has handled the library service since April 2005.

Top of the page.Q. Where can I buy audio books?

A. Audio books are marketed for the general public. In Québec, Coffragants ( has a catalogue of books recorded on CD. In France, Livraphone ( provides online access to an imposing catalogue of audio titles. A few titles can also be found in certain Québec bookstores. Apart from that, adapted books are not commercially available.

Top of the page.Q. Are large print books adapted books?

A. No. Although they are published to provide an alternative format for visually impaired readers, large print books are not adapted books in a legal sense. This means they do not have the exceptional status provided for in the Copyright Act, whereby a work can be produced in an alternative format, such as Braille or audio, for people with perceptual disabilities. The publisher of a large print book has to request the permission of the copyright holder and pay royalties before reproducing a work. Also, large print books do not have the postage-free status of documents for people with visual impairments.

Top of the page.Q. Where can I obtain large print books?

A. Large print books are available at many Québec libraries. The Grande Bibliothèque has a collection of large print books. The collection is located on the street level of the Grande Bibliothèque in the news and new releases (Actualités et nouveautés) section. It is accessible onsite during the opening hours of the section or remotely through the interlibrary loan ( ILL) service.