Some six or so weeks ago I participated in the making of a video, by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) regarding how visually impaired people use ebook readers to access the printed word. I have, today been sent a link to the video which can be found here http://www.youtube.com/user/rnibuk?feature=mhum#p/f/10/16krEX-4UJ4
. I demonstrated the text to speech facility, on the Amazon Kindle while the other participants demonstrated a variety of other reading devices.
The video gives a good albeit very brief insight into how visually impaired people can access ebooks and gain tremendous pleasure from doing so. The video’s youngest participant is a girl of 12 (its great to know that, contrary to what is sometimes said that the love of reading is not dying out among the younger generation) while the oldest participant is a gentleman of 44.
My only criticism of the video is that it fails to mention the fact that around 50 per cent of books, in the Kindle Store are text to speech enabled (meaning that a blind person can read them) while the remaining titles are not enabled leading to blind individuals such as myself not being able to access them. I know that RNIB is working with the Publisher’s Association and other interested parties to ensure that as many books as possible are text to speech enabled, however I think that the fact that approximately 50 per cent of books, in the Kindle Store lack the text to speech facility should most definitely have been mentioned. Indeed it is my recollection that, during the course of my interview I did mention this fact but it has either been cut or, alternatively my memory is at fault.