For a company that is trying to change the e-book industry and make it more relevant that it’s been in the past, Amazon certainly doesn’t get any breaks from any side. Amazon Kindle is a hit with colleges, and many universities may jump on board to use the device to make things more convenient for professors and students alike. But that’s not the case with the National Federation of the Blind. The NFB has complained about Amazon being discriminatory against visually impaired students and has forced the company to work on new ways to make the device more accessible.
It seems to controversy is ready to go away as the Justice departments indicated that universities that are planning to use devices such as Kindle need to make sure the device is accessible to the blind. The Justice Department argued that while the text to speech feature available on some e-book readers could be helpful to the blind, more needs to be done. So it’s official. Amazon and other e-book reader makers will have to work on voice-activated menus to make sure their devices are as accessible as possible for the visually impaired users.
The decision is not as bad as it sounds. I am all for Amazon and other companies working on devices that are accessible to the handicapped. At the same time, Kindle is just a tool. The information is what matters, and it doesn’t matter how you get it. Does Kindle make things more convenient for student? Probably. But the day we start treating Amazon Kindle as more than the tool it is, that’s when we have defeated its purpose. Kindle doesn’t make you smarter nor does it give you an edge over others by itself. But I digress.
Your take: is the above decision by the Justice Department and those 4 universities fair?