Call to Action: Amazon Kindle

The NFB is organizing a letter-writing campaign in protest of Amazon’s marketing efforts with the Kindle ereader.  Although I know many people who are desperately in love with their Kindles, I, myself am not a Kindle supporter:  Amazon has yet to make this device accessible to people with print disabilities.  If it’s a device designed to allow people to read, and my son can’t use it to read because it’s inaccessible for him, that device is not worthy of my purchasing dollars, and it sure as heck should not be used in my schools.

The NFB’s email follows:

Dear Friends:

Amazon.com is undertaking a massive effort to deploy its
Kindle e-readers and Kindle books to K-12 schools across the United States.  In some cases Kindle devices have been donated directly to schools, including schools that serve children who are blind or have other disabilities.  Amazon has also 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.  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.

We are asking each of you, and/or your blind children, to write a letter to Amazon’s founder and chief executive officer, Mr. Jeff Bezos, explaining the harmful impact that the use of this inaccessible technology in the classroom will have on blind students.  You may write your letter in print or Braille; if convenient, submit it in both formats.  Also, if you can, submit a video of you or your child reading the letter that we can post on our Web site, Facebook page, and/or YouTube channel.  You may send videos to jfreeh@nfb.org.  Children who appear in or submit videos must also have their parents sign a media release giving the National Federation of the Blind permission to use the video.  A copy of our standard media release is attached.  It can be mailed back to us at the address below, or faxed to 410-685-5653, attention Jessica Freeh.

We plan to deliver the hard copy letters directly to Jeff Bezos at an informational protest, so please send the letters to us at National Federation of the Blind, 200 East Wells Street at
Jernigan Place, Baltimore, MD 21230, Attention Chris Danielsen, Director of Public Relations.  To be included in our delivery to Mr. Bezos, we must receive your letter no later than December 1, 2012.

If you have any questions about this effort, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  You can call me at 410-659-9314, extension 2330, or e-mail me at cdanielsen@nfb.org.  Thank you for your assistance in this critically important matter.

Sincerely:

Chris Danielsen, Director of Public Relations
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND

Please, take the time to write a letter in support of everyone’s right to read today.

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