Make Kindle E-books Accessible
The Issue | Background and History | Recent Updates | E-book Comparison Chart| Dear Colleague Letter and FAQ | Protest | How You Can Help | In the News | Videos | Related Articles | Press Releases | Contact
- May 6, 2013 Department of Education Reply Letter to Daniel F. Goldstein, Esq. (PDF)
- May 6, 2013 After the New Kindle App for iOS, What Remains to Be Done? (PDF)
- May 1, 2013 Press Release: National Federation of the Blind Comments on Amazon Kindle App
- April 29, 2013 Weekly Message from Illinois State Superintendent Christopher A. Koch RE: Accessibility of Technology for Students and Teachers with Disabilities (PDF). See page six.
- April 10, 2013 Daniel F. Goldstein, Esq. Letter to Department of Education Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Seth Galanter (PDF)
- March 26, 2013 Letter from Dr. Marc Maurer to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn (PDF)
- March 11, 2013 Letter from Dr. Marc Maurer to National PTA RE: Amazon's Sponsorship of the National PTA's Family Reading Experience Program (PDF)
For further illustration of this issue, we have created a comparison chart showing the differences in accessibility between Kindle e-books and accessible e-books.
The National Federation of the Blind's advocacy on this issue led to the Department of Education and the Department of Justice releasing both a Dear Colleague Letter and follow-up FAQ document announcing that educational institutions, including colleges, libraries, and K-12 schools, were not to purchase inaccessible technology. These documents can be found below.
- June 29, 2010 Joint Dear Colleague Letter from the Department of Education and the Department of Justice
- May 6, 2011 Follow-up FAQ re: Joint Dear Colleague Letter
There are many ways that you can help us make Amazon aware of the need to make its Kindle e-books accessible to blind K-12 students.
If you are a parent or teacher of a blind child:
- Find out whether your school is implementing or considering implementing Whispercast or Kindle e-books.
- Educate your school and school district’s administrators, teachers, and Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) about the importance of e-book accessibility. Be prepared to explain why accessibility is critical, why it is important to ensure during the procurement phase that technology is accessible, and that accessible technology is required under the law. Provide your school and school district with copies of the Whispercast comparison chart and the Dear Colleague letters.
- If you learn that your school or school district uses or is planning to use Whispercast or Kindle content, through either Kindle devices or a Bring Your Own Device program, please contact Valerie Yingling, paralegal at the NFB, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 659-9314, extension 2440.
Even if you are not a parent or teacher, you can still help us get the word out via social media or consumer reviews. More details on these options are below.
We are often posting content related to this issue to our Twitter and Facebook feeds. We encourage you to share this content with your own networks. We also encourage you to create your own content - videos, photos, or blog posts - and share the content on social networks. When posting content about this issue on Twitter, please use our hash tag #KindleBooks4All, as well as the mainstream hash tags and Twitter handles popularized by Amazon and used by the general public. They are as follows: Twitter handles: @Amazon, @AmazonKindle, Hash tags: #Amazon #AmazonKindle #ebooks
Another way to spread the message about the inaccessibility of Kindle e-books and the harm that will be done by distributing this inaccessible technology in K-12 schools is by leaving reviews on Amazon.com's Kindle Web page or other popular consumer review Web sites. If you are a blind child or teen or the parent of a blind child or teen and own one of the Kindle devices, you can share in the review that you and/or your blind child cannot use it because it is not accessible.
- Seattle Times (12/12/2012): Visually Impaired Protest at Amazon
- KPLU.org (12/12/2012): Blind Protesters March at Amazon over Kindle Accessibility
- The Kindle at School: The REAL Story (70 MB)
- Kindle E-books vs. Accessible E-books Demonstration (17 MB)
- A Letter to Jeff Bezos from a Blind Student (14 MB)
- Advertisement in Education Week (December 5, 2012)
- Mainstream Access to E-Books: What Works, What Doesn't, and What is Still Unclear (Braille Monitor, January 2012)
- Equal Access to Information: the Urgency and the Law (Braille Monitor, December 2011)
- Access to Electronic Books, a Comparative Review (Braille Monitor, May 2011)
- A Crisis in Instructional Technology in Higher Education (Braille Monitor, February 2011)
- Fighting for the Right to Read (Braille Monitor, June 2009)
- National Federation of the Blind Comments on Amazon Kindle App (May 1, 2013)
- National Federation of the Blind Condemns Amazon's Push to Put Kindle E-Books in Schools (December 4, 2012)
- National Federation of the Blind Comments on New Kindles (September 6, 2012)
- National Federation of the Blind Files Complaint Against State Department (June 26, 2012)
- National Federation of the Blind Condemns Lack of Access to New Kindle Fires (September 29, 2011)
- National Federation of the Blind Comments on Release of New Large Screen Kindle (May 6, 2009)
- National Federation of the Blind Comments on Authors Guild Statement on the Amazon Kindle 2 (February 12, 2009)
For more information about this critical issue, please contact:
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)
For future updates on this issue, please follow NFB_Voice on Twitter (and please use the hash tag #KindleBooks4All when posting about this issue), become a fan of the National Federation of the Blind on Facebook, or sign up to receive our press releases. Please help us to achieve true equality for blind students.