Amazon Launches Reading Tool for the Visually Impaired

New reports suggest that Amazon has launched a new programme which will allow the visually impaired to read e-books via the Kindle e-reader device. Higher Ways Publishing investigates.

Engaging with content

Figures from the Association of American Book Publishers suggest that US book sales were impressive in 2015. Notably, downloaded audio books are becoming increasingly popular with American consumers. Sales of downloaded adult audio books rose by a staggering 38.9% throughout last year.

With these figures, we see that there is a strong market for digital audio books. One of the advantages of theses releases is that they allow the visually impaired to engage with literary content, without physically reading words on a page. Increasingly, technology is providing the visually impaired with a number of ways to consume content. For instance, Amazon has just released a new device that will make it even easier for this demographic to read books.

Kindle Voice View

Tech portal Slash Gear writes that Amazon has just released its Voice View for Kindle software. This converts text to speech, with an adapter and headphones and allows the visually impaired to listen to e-book content. Initially, this device will be bundled with the Kindle Paperweight and it will include a software update which both allows e-book content to be read out and gives users the chance to navigate the device’s interface via audio prompts for ease of useability.

The dongle used to enable Voice View, called the Kindle Audio Adapter, was designed by Amazon exclusively for its e-readers. It will initially work with just the Paperweight but the company has admitted that later down the line, it will bundle the programme with other Kindle devices. The company will offer Voice View in eight different speeds. Users can also take advantage of UI feedback prompts.

Using the programme

The Voice View bundle will initially retail at US$139.98. This package includes the Paperweight, which usually retails at US$119.99 as well as the Audio Adapter, which the company is selling for US$19.99.Amazon will credit US$19.99 to the account of anyone who buys the Voice View bundle, so these consumers are not overpaying to take advantage of its accessibility features.

The programme is fairly easy to use. On completion of purchase, the user just needs to plug speakers or headphones into their Kindle. All they need to do is charge the Kindle once and Voice View should provide them with as much as six hours of text-to-speech e-book content. The Paperweight recharges via the same micro-USB portal which fits the Audio Adapter dongle, so it cannot be used when the device is in charge mode.

With the release of Voice View, Amazon has provided visually impaired consumers with a great opportunity. By utilising this software, along with the accompanying Audio Adapter dongle, these consumers will be able to engage with e-book content more easily than ever before. Considering the fact that Amazon is one of the largest e-book retailers on earth, this will allow visually impaired consumers to access a vast library of texts for their audio-reading pleasure.

About Higher Ways Publishing

Higher Ways Publishing was established in 2003 by Hayim Oshky and Mike Walden, it helps authors and publishers transform brilliant ideas into commercial success. Headquartered in Tel Aviv Israel and California, they are a market leader in digital and hard-cover publishing for the health, fitness and relationship industries. Higher Ways Publishing have assisted many authors in expanding their online presence in the growing digital marketing world.

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