Update: Kindle not helpful enough to blind users

“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]


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

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • […] If, as Tyler Cowen suggests, the key market objective of the iPad is to obtain significant university adoption as a replacement for the paper textbook, one wonders how Apple’s lawyers are planning to handle the inevitable litigation from disabled-rights advocates. […]