Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Amazon Protest

Last February, Amazon unveiled its latest version of Kindle, an e-book reader. The new Kindle boasts some amazing features, even the ability to read the book aloud.

Unfortunately, authors of many of the e-books will not allow their books to be read aloud, and today, the Reading Rights Coalition is holding a protest in New York City outside the headquarters of The Authors Guild.

The protest will focus on the Guild's forcing of Amazon to place restrictions on the text-to-speech functions of its Kindle 2 device. The group claimed that Amazon's distribution rights did extend to the feature, and the company responded by allowing publishers to disable the text to speech feature on their books.

From the website of the Reading Rights Coalition, We represent 15 million Americans who cannot read print because of blindness, dyslexia, spinal cord injury, and other print disabilities. We include school children, the elderly, professionals, college students, returning veterans, and your neighbors, family members and friends. We want to buy books. We have fought very hard for many years to have equal access to technology and information. For the first time, now that the Amazon Kindle 2 offers text-to-speech, which will read a book aloud, we can purchase and enjoy books like everybody else. Sadly, the Authors Guild does not support equal access for us.”

"This is blatant discrimination and we will not tolerate it." said Dr Marc Maurer, president of coalition member The National Organization for the Blind.

"Authors and publishers who elect to disable text-to-speech for their e-books on the Kindle 2 prevent people who are blind or have other print disabilities from reading these e-books."

Please take a moment to consider signing the petition in support of the protest.

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