ASU sued by blind groups over use of Amazon’s e-book device

Books, Technology
Amazon Kindle DX

Arizona State University is being sued by advocates for the blind, who say the school is discriminating against vision-impaired students by offering textbooks via Amazon’s Kindle DX electronic reading device, according to a story by Courthouse News Service.

Darrell Shandrow, an ASU journalism student who is listed as a plaintiff along with the National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind, tells ASU’s State Press that the Kindle DX’s lack of an audio menu interfacefeatures locks the blind out of the new technology and puts them at a competitive disadavantage.

“While my peers will have instant access to their course materials in electronic form, I will still have to wait weeks or months for accessible texts to be prepared for me, and these texts will not provide the access and features available to other students,” Shandrow told the student newspaper.

ASU announced the pilot program in May. The proposal was spearheaded by Dr. Ted Humphrey, a President’s Professor at the Barrett Honors College who described himself as an early adopter of the Kindle.

You can read the complaint here (PDF, 93.1KB).

(Tip of the hat to Ray Stern’s Valley Fever blog for bringing the lawsuit to my attention.)

Update: See below for comment from Shandrow.

See also: ASU to pilot Kindle’s e-textbook program (May 6, 2009, The Associated Press)

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About Jayson Peters

Nerdvana's founder and owner. Digital editor, social media director, educator. Lifelong Star Wars fan and Trekker who also worships all things Tolkien and Doctor Who.