Oh no! I hear you say, Kevin is on his hobby horse! Well I’ll keep riding my trusty old hobby horse until all books are availible in accessible formats which can be read by visually impaired people (not just by sighted individuals).
Below is correspondence between myself and the Publishers Association concerning the accessibility of ebooks to blind people. Despite the warm words of the Association (as previously pointed out here) only around 50 per cent of titles, in the Amazon Kindle Store have the text to speech facility enabled which means that I (and countless other sight impaired people) are unable to read them. Almost all of the titles in question require to be purchased and I am, obviously very happy to pay for a title which I’d like to read. However by not enabling the text to speech on many titles publishers are, potentially depriving themselves of a stream of revenue which could be generated if sight impaired persons could furnish by purchasing said titles. The correspondence follows without further waffle from yours truly!
Thank you for your email to us as below.
Publishers are committed to making widely available in different formats
including accessible formats for reading impaired persons. We have been
working closely with the RNIB and publishers on this subject and the
issue isn’t always as simple as it may seem. The AUTHOR is the owner of
the copyright to their work, and it is their decision how that copyright
is exploited. The author is then represented by an AGENT who sells the
right to exploit the work to a publisher in various formats. The
majority of publishers have authorised the switching on of text to
speech where both the author and agent have given permission. There may
be occasions where this permission has been with held due to competing
editions ie there may be an audio edition, or other accessible formats
available. There are also technological issues whereby once permission
has been agreed, it takes a few months for the technology to kick in and
allow text to speech functionality.
I do recommend that if there are particular titles where text to speech
is not available and you are keen to understand the reason why (which
may varied) that you contact the individual publisher concerned.
Conversations are ongoing with publishers, the RNIB and technology
providers to make as many titles available as possible.
Posted At: 12 January 2011 17:03
Posted To: Mail
Conversation: ACCESSIBILITY OF EBOOKS TO BLIND PEOPLE
Subject: ACCESSIBILITY OF EBOOKS TO BLIND PEOPLE
I am registered blind and am not able to read print. As a consequence
I listen to audio books and download titles, from the Amazon Kindle
Store. However the difficulty with the latter is that not all titles,
in the Kindle Store have the Text to Speech facility enabled. I can,
therefore only download those titles with the facility enabled as I
can not read print.
I understand that many publishers will only allow Amazon to sell their
ebooks on condition that Text to Speech is disabled. This has the
effect of greatly restricting the choice of publications availible to
blind readers such as myself.
Can you please tell me what is the position of the PA in respect of
ebook accessibility? I can not understand why Text to Speech should
not be enabled as regards all titles thereby enfranchising blind book
lovers who are not able to read print.