A big plus of the new Kindle 3 is its accessibility – However, how important is Kindle accessibility and what impact will it have?
We’ll discuss that in a second – First, the 3 kindle free book preorders.
3 kindle free book preorders
Please disregard the 5 kb file sizes as preorders are usually listed as 5 kb. There are 3 kindle free preorders (courtesy Joyce at the official kindle forum) –
- Buddha: With Bonus Material by Deepak Chopra.
Eastern philosophy popularizer and mind-body pioneer Chopra has done novels before, and critics have not found fiction his long suit. That should change with this tale of how the Indian prince Siddhartha came to be the enlightened one, the Buddha.
The subject is tailor-made for Chopra. He can draw on what he’s familiar with: the ancient Indian culture that shaped the historic personage of the Buddha, and the powers of mind that meditation harnesses.
- The Girl on the Beach: A Bess Crawford Mystery by Charles Todd.
“Set in the summer of 1917, Todd’s excellent second mystery featuring British nurse Bess Crawford (after 2009’s A Duty to the Dead) smoothly blends realistic characters with an intricate plot.”
- Mysterious Profile #24: Ian Rutledge by Charles Todd. Detail courtesy Paula Wylma.
…series about a” a shell-shocked WWI veteran and Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge.”
Review: I am a huge fan of the mother/son team writing as Charles Todd. I am midway through their wonderful Ian Rutledge mystery series and think it is rather brilliant.
Sad to say, I am not as enamored of their Bess Crawford mysteries. The protagonist, the aforementioned Bess, is your typical plucky heroine. The only daughter of a commander, she has chosen to serve as a sister (nurse) in the First World War. Associations with soldiers have led her to investigate murders
There are also a few books showing up in free book searches that aren’t yet free. Will write a post covering those if/when they do become free.
Kindle Accessibility – How important is Accessibility?
Let’s start with what Kindle accessibility looks like – There’s a text to speech feature that reads out books (unless Publishers have disabled text to speech) and a Voice Guide feature that reads out menus, lists, and book descriptions. There are supersize fonts that correspond to size 30 and size 40 font in Word.
These combine to make the new Kindle 3 reasonably accessible to blind and low vision readers. It’s good enough to get the approval of the NFB (National Federation of the Blind).
How important is kindle accessibility?
For low vision and blind readers it’s crucial. Some portion of the 630,000 books in the Kindle Store have Text to Speech enabled and blind readers get to listen to these. Blind readers can also have any documents of their own (after conversion to Kindle format) and text files read out to them. Since there are 1.8 million public domain titles available in Kindle and text format there’s a lot of reading material.
Until Kindle 3 added accessibility blind readers didn’t really have options – There was a $1,500 Intel Reader with a built-in camera and Optical Character Recognition and that’s pretty much it. In comparison the Kindle WiFi is $139 and Kindle 3 is $189.
Kindle Accessibility also has other benefits
Kindle becoming accessible is important for another reason – It gets NFB to stop blocking Kindle trials in universities. Any Government funded institution couldn’t do Kindle trials because the Kindle wasn’t accessible. That meant Kindle (or any other eReader, since none of them were accessible) couldn’t make its way into public schools or public colleges. Two of the 5 biggest markets for the Kindle (colleges, schools) were completely closed off to it.
With the new accessible Kindle 3 schools funded partially or completely by the Government are finally free to buy Kindle 3s and use them. The first set of Universities doing Kindle DX trials got attacked (legally) by the NFB and by the Government and most of the Universities killed their trials. With accessible Kindle 3s and Kindle WiFis they are now free to do trials and to buy Kindles for their students.
What impact will Kindle Accessibility have?
It’s going to have a lot more impact than people realize –
- Universities and Schools are free to buy Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi.
- Kindles are the only eReaders that schools and colleges can use without getting sued by the NFB. Note that even if you stretch the definition of an eReader and include the iPad the $139 Kindle WiFi is a lot more realistic for students than $499 iPads and it is focused on reading (which means no surfing and no Facebook).
- Blind readers are going to buy Kindles. There aren’t any other accessible eReaders.
- Low vision readers are also predominantly going to choose Kindle 3.
- It’ll help sell more Kindles and increase Amazon’s lead in both eReaders and eBooks.
- We expand the ebooks market – Readable ebooks are a lot cheaper than buying large print books or books in braille. Kindle ebooks also ought to be available earlier and there ought to be a lot more range.
- There’s a lawsuit pending that might force Publishers to turn on Text to Speech for all books. Now that the Kindle 3 is fully accessible there’s a much stronger case for forcing Publishers to turn on Text to Speech.
- People who have a blind or low vision member in their family will prefer Kindle 3 – they can share books and they are likely to choose a company that makes accessible products.
Amazon really should tie up with the NFB and offer a special rate to blind readers.
Kindle Accessibility is far, far more important than some of the more publicized features.
- You have a market (blind readers) that doesn’t have any good option other than the Kindle 3.
- You have two markets (school, college) that are now free to buy and try Kindles. They too don’t really have a viable, cheap alternative to Kindle 3.
Kindle Accessibility will add massively to the ranks of people buying and reading books. Not a few thousand people – We’ll get millions of people and most of them will be new readers.
The Kindle 3 is getting a lot of coverage for the screen and the price – However, the accessibility feature might end up having the most impact.