You Can’t Make Everyone Happy
You will never be able to make everyone happy. Please accept this and move on.
I am going to poke my head out of Dragon Age Origins long enough to write this post and make sure the Dog is still watching the Bairn. For more about how Dragon Age has disrupted the Rochester household, see these two posts.
There were two stories Thursday about ereaders and how they do or do not serve people with disabilities.
The first, was about how the Amazon Kindle has come under fire from the National Federation of the Blind who is suing Arizona State University for a program to use the Kindle as a textbook distribution system (though that was unclear from the article). The real, and only issue, as far as I can tell, would be if these schools only distributed books on Kindle (or ebook) devices meaning that no other formats were available. None of the schools mentioned in the article seem to have gotten rid of all their print books in favor of ebook readers, so I am not sure what the real issue is here.
If the issue is that schools should not get any ereaders at all because the Kindle is not accessible, that is simply ridiculous. As long as the library does provide other formats, then people should be satisfied. There is still a format available for them to use. I see this as similar to libraries spending money on books I do not like. I do not demand libraries only buy things I like to read or understand or in my language (I would argue mathematics texts are inaccessible to my brain as are languages other than English). Libraries serve many different kinds of people and they must, and should, decide how to best spend their money.
If we try to serve everyone equally, we will succeed in serving everyone in a mediocre way. Never good or even great. Again, we must choose the best way to spend our money to make the greatest impact. The libraries that have chosen to circulate Kindles did not choose to do so because they wanted to discriminate against a particular group; they wanted to serve their population with a new service. Toddler story times do not serve every constituency of a library either, but no one is suggesting we get rid of them. To me, this is just another service that is meant to serve a part of the population. We can not limit ourselves to things that only serve every single person that walks through our doors. That is not a realistic expectation.
On Thursday, the same day everyone was complaining that there were no ereaders accessible to the blind, Intel announced an ereader for… the seeing impaired. This announcement, in my mind, makes the above gripes against the Kindle moot.
If schools have students who would benefit from Intel’s new ereader for the blind, they can afford to acquire one, and it fits the vision the library has for service (i.e. offering more digital formats), they should consider purchasing some of the new devices.
If groups, like the National Federation of the Blind, are angry about the Kindle’s inaccessibility, they should simply not give Amazon their business.
–Jane, only makes one person happy today and you, sadly, are not that person