ADA vs. the Nook, cont’d

by Walter Olson on September 7, 2012

Following a complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Sacramento library system has agreed not to give patrons any more Nook e-readers, which cannot be used by blind persons because they lack text-to-speech capability [Disability Law] Disability-rights lawyers have taken the view that it is unacceptable for libraries to stock a mix of devices, some with text-to-speech and some not.

{ 13 comments }

1 Reuven 09.07.12 at 12:45 am

Just a second! Back in my day, when I worked in the library, we had a collection of Large Print books, talking books, etc. And these collections were a small subset of the regular collection; every book wasn’t replicated in every form. And nobody complained. In fact, the blind people were quite happy to get a selection of the latest talking books.

2 delurking 09.07.12 at 7:00 am

This has to be the dumbest argument I’ve ever heard. Regular books cannot be used by blind people.

3 wfjag 09.07.12 at 7:41 am

ADA is becoming the ultimate Heckler’s Veto.

4 marco73 09.07.12 at 8:19 am

Here’s the money quote from the article:

“Emerging technologies like e-readers are changing the way we interact with the world around us and we need to ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded from the programs where these devices are used,” said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez.

I have a standard issue Nook, and I find it tremendously convenient. There are some improvements I’d love to see, but if B&N are going to have to clear any improvements with the ADA section of the Justice department, we might as well forget it.

Note to any other companies that are thinking of coming up with any new technology: just don’t. You’ll pay more for your ADA compliance lawyers that you will ever earn back.

5 Richard Nieporent 09.07.12 at 9:13 am

How prescient was Kurt Vonnegut. Our Handicapper General is making sure that no one has an advantage over anyone else. The purpose of these lawsuits is not to help the blind but to punish the sighted. How long will it be before the government sues the libraries for having the audacity to keep a large collection of items that are inaccessible to the blind? I believe they are called books. Even worse, they loan out movies. That is clearly a deliberate affront to the blind. And what about their books on tape? Think of all of the deaf people who are being discriminated against!

6 Rogers turner 09.07.12 at 9:16 am

Under this logic, haven’t they been discriminating ever since the “technology” of books on tape emerged by not having every title available in that format? I think not having foreign language translations of both written and taped versions also seriously implicates national origin concerns as well. Clearly this warrants federal intervention.

7 Ed 09.07.12 at 9:18 am

So I assume they will not allow anyone to have a paper book that isn’t written in both text and Braille.

8 John Burgess 09.07.12 at 2:24 pm

I want to know why ‘chic lit’ dominates the library shelves! I know they’re best-sellers, but I — for one — don’t want to read them. I want guns and gore and boobies. Why aren’t 50% of library acquisitions meeting my demand?

9 mojo 09.07.12 at 4:37 pm

“Moronic” is being too kind.

10 Fatwa Arbuckle 09.07.12 at 8:49 pm

Radios, CDs, and all digital audio files (.mp3, .wav, .rar, etc.) are also unfair to deaf people.

11 ras 09.07.12 at 10:07 pm

And when the technology development and production moves offshore – I mean, even more than at present – they will wonder why and demand even more control to force it it to stay.

12 asdfasdf 09.08.12 at 4:15 pm

Every book should also have translations available so that it is accessible to those who do not speak English.

And books should have simple synopses available, written at an elementary school level, so as not to discriminate against the learning disabled as well.

13 Irene Klar 09.09.12 at 12:23 pm

Art galleries watch out! You might be next.

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