[Nfbnet-members-list] National Federation of the Blind Condemns Amazon’s Push to Put Kindle E-books in Schools

David Andrews dandrews at visi.com
Wed Dec 5 00:09:26 UTC 2012


Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)
<mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>cdanielsen at nfb.org

National Federation of the Blind Condemns Amazon's
Push to Put Kindle E-books in Schools

Blind Americans Will Protest at Amazon Headquarters

Seattle, Washington (December 4, 2012): In protest of a recent push 
by Amazon.com to put Kindle e-books, 
are inaccessible to blind students, into K-12 classrooms across the 
country, members and supporters of <http://www.nfb.org>the National 
Federation of the Blind will conduct an informational picket at the 
company's headquarters on Wednesday, December 12. The action comes on 
the heels of Amazon's launch of Whispercast, a system designed to 
allow teachers and school administrators to push Kindle e-books to 
different devices, theoretically allowing the sharing of content 
among devices brought to school by the students.  Kindle content, 
unlike some other e-book products, is not accessible to blind 
students, even on devices that are themselves accessible to the 
blind, such as personal computers and iPads.  This is because Amazon 
makes Kindle content available only to its own proprietary 
text-to-speech engine, if at all, rather than to accessibility 
applications of the reader's choice.  Furthermore, the limited 
accessibility features that Amazon has implemented do not allow for 
the kind of detailed reading that students need to do in an 
educational setting.  Although the books can be read aloud with 
text-to-speech, the student cannot use the accessibility features of 
his or her device to learn proper spelling and punctuation, look up 
words in the dictionary, annotate or highlight significant passages, 
or take advantage of the many other features that Kindle devices and 
applications make available to sighted students.  Kindle e-books also 
cannot be displayed on Braille devices, making them inaccessible to 
blind and deaf-blind students who read Braille.

<http://www.nfb.org/marc-maurer-bio>Dr. Marc Maurer, President of 
<http://www.facebook.com/NationalFederationoftheBlind>the National 
Federation of the Blind, said: "Amazon has repeatedly demonstrated 
utter indifference to the recommendations of blind Americans for 
<http://www.nfb.org/kindle-books>full accessibility of its Kindle 
e-books and failed to follow the best practices of other e-book 
providers.  Blind Americans will not tolerate this behavior any 
longer.  While we urge Amazon to correct the many obvious 
deficiencies in its implementation of accessibility and remain 
willing to work with the company to help it do so, we will oppose the 
integration of these products into America's classrooms until Amazon 
addresses these deficiencies.  Putting inaccessible technology in the 
classroom not only discriminates against blind students and 
segregates them from their peers, but also violates the law."

For more information on this important issue, please visit 

The National Federation of the Blind needs your support to ensure 
that blind children get an equal education, to connect blind veterans 
with the training and services they need, and to help seniors who are 
losing vision continue to live independent and fulfilling lives. To 
make a donation, please go to <http://www.nfb.org>www.nfb.org.


About the National Federation of the Blind
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is the oldest, largest, 
and most influential nationwide membership organization of blind 
people in the United States.  Founded in 1940, the NFB advocates for 
the civil rights and equality of blind Americans, and develops 
innovative education, technology, and training programs to provide 
the blind and those who are losing vision with the tools they need to 
become independent and successful.  We need your support.  To make a 
donation, please go to <http://www.nfb.org>www.nfb.org

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