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!

Dear Kevin


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.


Kind wishes





—–Original Message—–


Posted At: 12 January 2011 17:03

Posted To: Mail




Good afternoon


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.




Kevin Morris”.


About kevinmorris101

I live and work in London and blog as a hobby. If you would like to contact me please send an email to animalia at (the address is rendered in this manner in order to try and defeat spammers)!
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