That All May Read

Yesterday we mailed back the digital playback machine from the Texas State Library. Sam has been a client of the Talking Books program since elementary school. Many nights the boys put in a Harry Potter book, or Hank the Cowdog, or Lemony Snicket, and fell asleep as the story unfolded.

That doesn’t really work for Sam’s life anymore. He’s working two jobs and, come fall, will be taking two classes online — just 12 more credit hours, four easy classes — and he’ll have his associate’s degree.

I bought him a Kindle two Christmases ago, in hopes that the Kindle — which has the capability of converting text to speech — would fill the gap in his life.

It helps when a textbook is available as a Kindle edition. The book can be read to him and that improves his comprehension. We can’t expect the Talking Books program to keep up with that kind of need.

But book publishers don’t want to cooperate with the e-reader formats. They likely consider what happened to the music industry as a cautionary tale. His most favorite books aren’t available, probably because the most popular authors know that where they go, is where the e-reader goes.

We’d pay for the damn books if they play nice with Kindle, which had the decency to offer text-to-speech. We’d buy another e-reader if they would quit buckling to the audio book market and enable text-to-speech.

While everyone else waits for market dominance — or, in the case of JK Rowling and PotterMore, apparently positions for the continued chaos — people like Sam can’t participate.

It just shows how little we really think about people when our vision is clouded by money.


  1. Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe on June 30, 2011 at 3:50 am

    And, no, the irony of the fact that “See Sam Run” isn’t available as an e-book isn’t lost on me. I would love to see it available as a talking book, too, and have mentioned that to those who could do something about it.

    Accessibility will be a condition of my next contract, should I ever be that fortunate.

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