[blindkid] Reading Rights Coalition to Participate in LA Times Festival of Books

Barbara.Mathews at sce.com Barbara.Mathews at sce.com
Mon Apr 27 03:23:30 UTC 2009

      My daughter Kyra and I joined representatives of the NFB at the event
described below.   It was very successful!  We collected hundreds of
signatures on our petition.  We talked to many, many people, virtually all
of whom supported our cause.  We met authors who are willing to support us.
It was great to be there!

      If you haven't signed the on-line petition yet, please do!  The
website is at the end of this e-mail.

      Protect the Right of the Blind and People with Print Disabilities to

The Reading Rights Coalition, a collaborative effort by 30 nationally
recognized organizations that represent people with print disabilities, is
coming to Los Angeles Times Book Festival on April 25 and 26 and needs your
help!  The LA Times Book Festival is the largest book fair in the country,
attracting over 140,000 people and 450 authors.  We need volunteers to hand
out literature at our booth and to educate the public and individual
authors about the right of the blind and print disabled to have equal
access to e-books. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact
John Pare at jpare at nfb.org, preferably by April 21, 2009.  Please indicate
what hours you are available to assist on which day. An informational
briefing for volunteers will be held on Friday April 24, location and time
to be announced.


When Amazon released the Kindle 2 e-book reader in February with a
text-to-speech (a mechanized ‘read aloud’) feature, 15 million people with
print disabilities – including the blind, people with dyslexia, learning
disabilities, processing disorders, spinal cord injuries, and others – were
promised for the first time in history easy, mainstream access to over
255,000 books. Under pressure from the Authors Guild, however, Amazon has
announced that it will give authors and publishers the ability to remove
text-to-speech from their Kindle books, which will likely lead to
publishers telling Amazon to turn off text-to-speech on all books. The
Authors Guild’s proposals for people with disabilities to obtain access – a
separate distribution channel that segregates the disabled, requires people
with disabilities to register and prove that their reading issue is an
“organic dysfunction,” thus leaving out many people who don’t have a
neurologist’s certificate, or alternatively, a “disability tax,” charging
extra for books with text-to-speech – discriminates against people with
disabilities, constitutes censorship, and is bad business.

The Reading Rights Coalition, which represents people who cannot read
print, has launched a national public information campaign to educate the
public and urge the authors to support equal access for people with
disabilities who want to buy their books. For more information and to learn
about other ways you can help, visit our website at www.readingrights.org.
Please take a moment to sign our petition

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