Some 200 protesters representing people with disabilities demonstrated in New York yesterday against limits on the text-to-speech function on Amazon’s new Kindle electronic book device.
Led by the National Federation of the Blind and the Reading Rights Coalition, demonstrators picketed the headquarters of the Author’s Guild, chanting such slogans as, “No need for greed, we want to read.”
Following complaints by the Author’s Guild, Amazon announced recently that it would allow authors to disable the read-aloud function on any of their e-books available for the Kindle2.
Advocates argued that the Amazon decision will unfairly limit access for the estimated 15 million Americans who are not able to read printed material. This includes people with vision impairments, dyslexia, or learning or processing issues; seniors losing vision; people with spinal cord injuries, and people who have had strokes.
The Guild, which represents 4,000 authors, has argued that the device’s text-to-speech feature infringes on copyright and endangers audio book sales.
(Publishers Weekly photo)