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Amazon and the Blind

377 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  Ann in Arlington
Here are some statistics showing how the legally blind population in the US compares in size to the entire population of the United States.  Jeff gives 2.5 million to gay marriage, still can't quite get my head around that one, other than the probability of it being a cheap and shallow publicity stunt to bring more attention for him and Amazon.  Personally, I have always supported gay marriage, the same goes for my friends, but at the same time, there were a lot of us in the blind community, who were just shaking our heads when the story made the news.  I think the class action suit filed against Amazon by the blind consumer, which was eventually settled, and the statistics below sum up the passively hostile attitude Amazon has towards legally blind consumers in the US and probably around the world.  Jeff probably thinks it isn't worth it to dedicate resources and money into a population that he thinks isn't going to make the kind of money he wants in return.  And he probably doesn't see any PR value in helping the blind either.

120,000 totally blind
1 out of 2 thousand persons
600,000 legally blind
1 out of 417 persons
2.4 million visually disabled
1 out of 100 persons, the non profit I have mentioned before on the boards, approached Amazon, if I remember what I was told correctly, hoping to work out an arrangement to make Kindle books available to members, and not surprisingly, Amazon refused to work with them.  This is interesting because Audible, who is now owned by Amazon, has been allowing their audio books to be moved over to Daisy formatted digital talking book flash cartridges and for Daisy formatted digital talking books to download from the national library for the blind web site.  My guess is that this arrangement was in place before Audible was bought by Amazon.  I wouldn't be at all surprised that when this contractual agreement expires, Amazon will stop allowing Audible to share their content with the national library for the blind.  All the publishers and the author's guild are on board with, and we all remember the stink they raised when the Kindle 2 came out with TTS enabled for all Kindle book titles.  So Amazon won't let make it's Kindle books available to members.  Also, Amazon won't make any of their apps, Kindle for MAC, Kindle for IOS, and Kindle for Android, accessible the beyond Kindle for PC app with the Accessibility Plugin.  Which requires at a size minimum a netbook to run, which isn't what I would call pocketable.  All Daisy books are only playable or readable on players that support the Daisy DRM format,  The library requires new applicants to prove they have a reading disability before they will be eligible for services from them.  Existing library members simply have to request a player and go through the process of getting the books they want delivered or getting set up to download books from their web site, or both.  Even with all this done, in order to read the books on one of these players, a key must be installed before a book will play.  So there are several safe guards in place to keep these books from ending up in the hands of people who are not eligible to physical receive or download them.  I hope Amazon doesn't discontinue the Kindle 3/Keyboard, but I would not be surprised to see it dropped from their line this next fall.  And if Amazon addressed the zero accessibility issue with all the "Kindle for" mobile device and Mac apps, they wouldn't have to technically continue to build support into their EInk or tablet line of products, which is actually great for everyone involved.  Amazon isn't going to keep the look and feel of the hardware devices the same from year to year, which means reworking the accessibility parts of the firmware with every new hardware product release.  Whereas with the apps, the look and feel tends to stay with each update or upgrade.  Also, there's no shipping and handling to deal with when using an app.  Blind book lovers can choose the devise that best fits their needs or their taste.  Best of all, with the exception of the laptops, larger tablets, and netbooks, all other mobile devices such as the iPhone, touch, and smaller tablet and phone android devices, will be able to fit in a regular shirt, pant, coat, or jacket, pocket.  When a blind person walks out the door, they will have only two small devices for all the media content needs.  Amazon has needlessly made this whole miserable situation far more difficult than it had to be, and it is because of the Jeff Bezo inspired Amazon culture, which is not something to be very proud of.

By the way, the Nook app for IOS devices seems to be fully accessible, but I don't know about the Android version of the app.  Does anyone know how many Nook formatted DRM titles there are in the store?

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Split this into it's own thread, Gene, as it really hasn't anything to do with the ad. :)
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