Lawsuit against Arizona State University for considering Kindle DX


Two weeks ago, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and the American Council of the Blind (ACB) filed suit against Arizona State University (ASU) for planning to use Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader as a means to distribute textbooks to students. While the latest version Kindle DX has text-to-speech capability for e-books, strangely the Kindle menu system itself does not have such a feature. This means, at this point the Kindle is no good for blind users.

Sadly enough, ASU pointed out in an e-mail statement that they have a Disability Resource Center and accomodate users with disabilities that way.  Sounds somewhat lame and shows how even universities don’t have clear policies in place that would signify a true commitment to accessibility. The simple fact that they start a pilot program before checking a device for accessibility just doesn’t sit right with me.

The correct approach would be to notify Amazon about a possible interest, but to note  first and foremost that unless their device is fully accessible, the Kindle could not be considered for higher education (both for legal and for ethical reasons).

For more details,  read the NFB Press Release.

3 Comments. Leave new

Arizona State Should still do this. The blind can’t read the regular textbooks anyway.

Ah, typing on a mobile is harder than it looks :-/

*… a point when Inclusion

*… were blocked because they

This seems to be a delicate position for organizations. At what point can a situation be adequately vetted with interested authorities that it can move forward? ASU aparently didn’t go far enough. But is there a point when Includion goes too far?

Here, ASU is trying to pilot a program to make textbooks more accesible to their student body. It would be just as dissapointing if piloting novel initiatives like this were blocked be they couldn’t offer absolutely 100%.

And I’m not defending ASU ignoring acessibility. I would simply offer that such discussion should also consider the benefits of moving forward to create the market demand for acessibility.