Friday, July 3, 2009

Arizona State Sued Over Kindle E-Textbook Usage; Library Journal, 7/2/09

Lynn Blumenstein via Library Journal; Arizona State Sued Over Kindle E-Textbook Usage:

"Arizona State University (ASU), Tempe, is being sued by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and the American Council of the Blind (ACB) over the use of Amazon’s Kindle DX electronic reading device as a means of distributing electronic textbooks to its students, because the new ereader's menu isn't accessible to the blind.

Disabilities Act violation?The plaintiffs claim that such usage violates Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 because the device cannot be used by blind students. The NFB and ACB also filed complaints with the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

NFB acknowledges that the Kindle DX features text-to-speech technology that can read textbooks aloud to blind students. The menu limitation, however, makes it impossible for a blind user to purchase books from Amazon’s Kindle store, select a book to read, activate the text-to-speech feature, and use the advanced reading functions available on the Kindle DX, according to NFB...

Five other universities are deploying the Kindle DX as part of a pilot project to assess the role of electronic textbooks and reading devices in the classroom: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland; Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville; Pace University, New York, NY; Princeton University, NJ; and Reed College, Portland, OR."

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