Amazon have been pimping their large format Kindle DX ebook reader for many months now – however trials in the US have shown that the reception has been luke warm, at best.
Amazon’s educational device which is based on the Kindle 2 e-book reader was sent to some Universities in the states to undergo an extended testing period and a few of the partners such as Syracuse University have aired that they will not be adopting it with the main issue focusing around the lack of universal accessibility for blind students.
The initial promises of text to speech functionality were removed shortly after launch due to complaints from the Author’s Guild Of America. The issue revolved around the fact that this was a infringement of the authors rights to be paid a separate royalty for all verbal performances of their work.
Ken Frazier from the University of Wisconsin-Madison said “the big disappointment in the trials was learning that the Kindle DX is not accessible to the blind. Advancements in text to speech technology have created a market opportunity for an e-book reader that is fully accessible for everyone. This version of the Kindle e-book reader has missed the mark.”
Dr Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind is even more damning in his dislike for the product. “It is our position that no university should consider this device to be a viable ebook solution for its students.”
We see no easy way out for Amazon as the main issue is one they can not easily work around, unless they go head to head again with the Author’s Guild.