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

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

PR Newswire

SEATTLE, Dec. 4, 2012

Blind Americans Will Protest at Amazon Headquarters

SEATTLE, Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --In protest of a recent push
by Amazon.com to put Kindle e-books, which are inaccessible to blind students,
into K-12 classrooms across the country, members and supporters of 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.

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Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said:
"Amazon has repeatedly demonstrated utter indifference to the recommendations
of blind Americans for 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
www.nfb.org/kindle-books.

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
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 www.nfb.org

SOURCE National Federation of the Blind

Website: http://www.nfb.org
Contact: Chris Danielsen, Director of Public Relations, National Federation of
the Blind, +1-410-659-9314, extension 2330, +1-410-262-1281 (Cell),
cdanielsen@nfb.org
 
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