Update: Kindle not helpful enough to blind users

by Walter Olson on January 25, 2010

“Two organizations representing the blind have settled a discrimination lawsuit against Arizona State University over its use of Amazon’s Kindle e-reader device. … The university, which denies the pilot program violates any law, agreed that if it does decide to use e-book readers in future classes over the next two years, ‘it will strive to use devices that are accessible to the blind,’ according to their joint statement.” [AP/ABC News; earlier] Related: Berin Szoka, “An Internet for everyone” [L.A. Times/City Journal]

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A thought on Apple’s iPad
01.28.10 at 11:01 am


1 Aria 01.25.10 at 6:48 am

So give everyone an equal disadvantage? Hindering education for the sighted furthers the education for the blind…how?

2 Richard Nieporent 01.25.10 at 7:22 am

Last June, the National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind joined a blind ASU student in suing Arizona State, alleging that the Kindle’s inaccessibility to blind students constituted a violation of federal law.

I guess the next lawsuit will be to outlaw the use of paper books. After all they are clearly inaccessible to blind students.

3 jkoerner 01.25.10 at 9:06 am

So apparently the solution is to give ASU students the equivalent of a speak and spell? Sounds about right. Go devils!

4 Robert 01.25.10 at 12:02 pm

Call me crazy, but weren’t old-fashioned paper textbooks not very blind-user friendly?

5 Tom 01.25.10 at 12:29 pm

Did I miss the part in the article where ASU owns and is responsible for Kindle? Was it not a “trial basis”? Guess some California ADA lawyers were in town and bored.

6 John 01.25.10 at 10:32 pm

The choice of the kindle is the issue, since amazon went out of their way to placate publishers; allowing them to disable the text-to-speech.

I would think if the university select a e-reader that didn’t go out if its way to block text-to-speech functionality the suit would not have been necessary.

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