Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thoughts on reading

I've been reading in my e-mail, listening to podcasts, and noticing things on Twitter about the new Kindle reader from Amazon. Now I don't know that much about it, but I have heard and read a lot of stuff about it as it relates to the print-disabled community.
First it was the Author's Guild making a big deal about the text-to-speech feature on the Kindle being considered a public performance. OK, now here's how I understand the term "public performance": someone sits at the front of a lecture hall, hooks up the reader to an amplifier or speaker system, and, using the text-to-speech capability, broadcasts the book to the rest of the lecture hall.
Now let's say that I'm sitting on my porch, with headphones hooked up to the reader. Again, i'm listening to the book, but nobody else is. Does this still make it a public performance, just because i'm listening to it? Does this make sense to you, Mr. Blount?
And now, i hear about the denouncement of Random House by the Reading Rights Coalition. I have already signed their petition, but something just crossed my mind today. Who says that the Kindle is the only reader available, or that it's the best? I just did a quick Google search, and the first price i saw for the Kindle was $359. That's roughly the same amount i paid for my Victor Reader Stream a year ago. Moreover, the Victor has many more features than the Kindle, which just reads -- oh, excuse me -- supports books, to my knowledge, whereas the Victor can play talking books from the National Library Service, Daisy books, Audible books, text files, podcasts, and music.
More or less what i'm saying here is: why does the blindness/"print-disabled" community get all upset about this one item, when there are other options on the market?