The Sorry State of Kindle Text-to-Speech

The Amazon Kindle was once again in headlines this week, and this time, it wasn’t in an especially flattering light. No, instead of any mentions of the latest developments at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Kindle was guilty by association in a lawsuit filed by the National Federation of the Blind and American Council of the Blind against Arizona State University for discrimination rising from their use of the Kindle DX in the classroom.

Evidently, ASU had started a pilot program to see how useful the Kindle DX would be in a classroom setting. Ever since I first picked one up, that seemed to be the most practical application of e-Reader technology. I’m a few years out of college at this point, but I still get back aches whenever I think about the sheer quantity of paper I was carrying around on a daily basis. The NFB and ACB didn’t object to the convenience, however, so much as the fact that blind students wouldn’t get the same benefits out of the program because the Kindle’s text-to-speech system is inadequate for their needs.

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