Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Starting A Project

On Friday I started my reading for the reviews I will write for the United Methodist Women Reading Program 2012.

I narrowed my choices down to the books that were available as ebooks to start. I picked two from the Spiritual Growth group and discovered two more, in different categories, were available as digital downloads from the National Library Service as Talking Books.

Next, I sampled the two ebooks from the Kindle store just to be certain they are text-to-speech enabled and I would like them. The web site said they were, but I wanted to be certain.

I am new at writing reviews. Further, I haven't read many books on the Kindle which require my complete attention so this is a new reading experience for me.

I will digress here to talk about the experience of using the Kindle Keyboard as a blind person.

  1. The Kindle Keyboard is the only accessible Kindle. Not all Kindles can utilize text-to-speech, most notably the Kindle Fire. I would love it if I could access my books on my Android smart phone using the Kindle app. Unfortunately, the app does not include this feature. Shame on you, Amazon!

  2. Not all the functions are voice-enabled on the Kindle Keyboard. I cannot page through a book while having text-to-speech enabled. This means I can only listen to a continuous reading of the book. I must stop the continuous reading and turn off text-to-speech when I want to navigate a book.

  3. Not all the controls speak. For example, I wanted to check out the discussion questions at the back of the book after I read the first chapter. I decided not to page back to the table of contents. I paged forward, turning on text-to-speech occasionally to hear where I was in the book. I learned the discussion questions begin ninety per cent of the way through the book. There is no way to bookmark my place. I will have to make note of where I stop reading by page in the text and where to go by location to pick up my reading to read the questions. I can type in a location or page number to navigate there although I cannot hear if I have typed the number correctly. It is sometimes a hit or miss project with a lot of retyping, remembering and note taking

  4. The advanced, and very cool, features of highlighting, note taking and sharing are not available to the blind user of a Kindle. Curiously, I cannot shop in the Kindle store either. I can buy a sample book from my Kindle.

Nevertheless, reading my first UMW selection is a pleasurable experience so far.>

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