[Colorado-talk] Kindle Accessibility

Jessica Beecham jbeecham at cocenter.org
Mon Dec 3 21:31:36 UTC 2012

Hello NFBCO!

We  are still asking for the assistance of our PARENTS, STUDENTS, and
SUPPORTERS to rally in support of our efforts to MAKE THE KINDLE
ACCESSIBLE!  So far, I have only received 8 letters and have knowledge of 3
others being sent out.  Colorado is a powerful state with many dedicated
Federationists.  I would like to see us send off a whole lot of letters!
 Below you will find a message that was sent from our National office
explaining our efforts.  We would like to ask each of you to write a letter
to Amazon.com, encouraging them to make Kindle and Kindle products

In the below text are two sample letters (one from an adult and one from a
child).  These can be used as a template for your letter.  After your
letter is written, please mail it to NFB at:

200 E. Wells St. at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230

Letters may be sent in print, braille, or both.  If you would like you can
also e-mail your letters to jbeecham at cocenter.org and I will make sure that
they go to the correct place.

After you have written and sent your letter, please let me know so that we
can have an idea of how many letters have been sent from Colorado.  You can
do this via e-mail atjbeecham at cocenter.org or by phone at 720-440-2632.  I
will be out of the office from November 22-November 30 so please do use the
above number if you wish to reach me.

Best Wishes

Hello everyone:

As you know, we are asking members and supporters to write letters to Jeff
Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, insisting that he make Kindle content
accessible in light of the fact that Amazon is aggressively pushing Kindle
books to schools. Some of you have asked for template letters that you can
use to help write letters of your own. Attached and pasted below are two
template letters, one from a child and one from a parent, teacher, or other
interested adult. Please encourage your members to personalize these
letters and send them to us. (Please send them to the NFb, even though they
are pre-addressed to Amazon. Our plan is to "deliver" the letters during
our protest set for December 12, 2012.) Please print the letters and send
them to my attention at National Federation of the Blind, 200 East Wells
Street at Jernigan Place, Baltimore MD 21230. You may send the letters in
print, Braille, or both. If you cannot send physical letters, please e-mail
letters to me at cdanielsen at nfb.org and we will print and emboss the
letters for you. Please stay tuned to all NFB e-mail lists, since we will
be putting out more materials on this topic. Thanks as always.
Together we will win this battle and gain access to Kindle books for blind


Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations

Mr. Jeff Bezos
Amazon.com, Inc.
410 Terry Avenue North
Seattle, Washington 98109
Dear Mr. Bezos:
I have become aware that Amazon.com is undertaking a massive effort to
deploy its Kindle e-readers and Kindle books to K-12 schools across the
United States. Amazon has built a system called Whispercast that allows
teachers and school administrators to distribute Kindle content to devices
other than Kindles. The problem with all of these plans is that neither the
Kindle devices nor the book files used in conjunction with them are
accessible to students who are blind or who have other print disabilities.
Even if a student has an accessible device like a personal computer,
laptop, or iPad, he or she still will not be able to gain full access to
these books. Although the books can be read aloud with text-to-speech, the
student can’t use the access features of his or her device to learn proper
spelling and punctuation, look up words in the dictionary, annotate or
highlight significant passages, or take advantage of the many other
features that Kindle devices and applications make available to sighted
students. This is because Kindle books are designed so that the text is not
exposed to screenreaders, like JAWS for Windows or Apple’s VoiceOver
application, which are used by blind students. This also means that the
text of Kindle books can’t be displayed on Braille devices. Listening is
not reading; if students who can’t read Braille cannot access Kindle books
in Braille, they are not reading.
Since school districts have an obligation under federal law to purchase or
deploy only accessible technology and content, Amazon must either make
Kindle books accessible or cease and desist from its efforts to have them
used in the classroom. I sincerely hope that you will make the vast library
of Kindle books available to all students, including those who are blind.
If you do, you will be making history by providing more access to books for
blind students than they have ever had in all of human history.


Mr. Jeff Bezos
Amazon.com, Inc.
410 Terry Avenue North
Seattle, Washington 98109
Dear Mr. Bezos:
My name is xx. I am in the xx grade and attend xx school. I am writing to
you to ask that you please make your Kindle books accessible to me. I need
to have access to the same books and textbooks that my classmates are using
so that I can do my assignments and keep up with my classmates. I know that
you can make this happen. If you do, I’ll get the same education as all of
my friends. If you don’t, I won’t get the same education, won’t learn to
read properly, and won’t have the same opportunities as my sighted friends.
Please make Kindle content accessible to me as soon as possible.

Jessica Beecham
Chapter and Community Development Coordinator
National Federation of the Blind of Colorado
2233 West Shepperd Ave.
Littleton, CO 80210
jbeecham at cocenter.org

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