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Blind and Vision-Impaired Readers to Benefit from New Kindle Features in 2010

Amazon working to make the bestselling Kindle also a breakthrough device for the blind

 

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kindle, the #1 bestselling product across all of Amazon, has enabled many vision-impaired readers to enjoy books more easily than before, and has also helped dyslexic readers and those with learning disabilities improve their reading skills. Vision impaired customers benefit from Kindle’s ability to change the font size – easily making any book a large print edition. Dyslexic readers benefit from being able to listen with Kindle's text-to-speech technology while simultaneously reading along with the synchronized text. Today, Amazon announced that it is working on a new set of features that will make Kindle even better for these readers as well as a meaningful breakthrough device for the blind.

“Kindle is for anyone who loves to read—in fact, we’ve heard from thousands of vision-impaired customers and customers with learning disabilities over the past two years who have been helped tremendously by Kindle,” said Ian Freed, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “With some key modifications, we believe Kindle can be a breakthrough device for the blind, and the team is excited about making these enhancements.”

 

Below are examples of emails sent to the Kindle team over the past two years about the significance of these features:

 

“The other day I took my visually impaired friend to the eye doctor. I just happened to take my Kindle out of my purse to show her the birthday gift I had received. Amazingly, she was able to read on it. How exciting; she had not been able to read books for many years.”

 

“I’ve always loved to read, but the last year or so vision problems have hampered my reading. Reading small print was extremely difficult and caused eye strain. Fortunately, a dear friend gifted me with my Kindle 2 on my birthday in September. Since that time, my Kindle has not left my side.”

 

“I have an 11 year old daughter with cerebral palsy. She has very poor vision and cannot turn pages in a book, so the kindle text to speech is a blessing for her. She loves books and will listen for hours!”

 

“I am an ophthalmologist specializing in rehabilitation of the visually impaired. I have found the Kindle DX to be of tremendous value to my patients. A few modifications could increase its effectiveness.”

 

[From teacher of students with learning disabilities] “One of my students brought his mom's Kindle to class this week and gave a little show and tell for two different classes. He is certainly a hard worker, but reading is not an easy skill for him. He reports that the lack of back-lighting, the ability to change font size and the 'read-to' features have been very helpful - already he feels he has made great progress! The Kindle has really grabbed the attention of many of my students who have typically been turned off by reading assignments.”

 

To make Kindle more useful for the blind, the Kindle team is currently working on an audible menuing system so blind and vision-impaired readers can easily navigate to books unassisted, in addition to listening to books as they can already do today with Read To Me. In addition, a new super size font will be added to Kindle, increasing the number of font sizes from six to seven. This seventh font size will be twice the height and width of the current largest font. These new features are scheduled for release by the summer of 2010.

 

To receive emails from Amazon when new features and updates on this topic are available, please send an email to blind-interest@amazon.com.

About Amazon.com

 

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN - News), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth's Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel; Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial.

Amazon Web Services provides Amazon’s developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon's own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Examples of the services offered by Amazon Web Services are Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), Amazon Flexible Payments Service (Amazon FPS), Amazon Mechanical Turk and Amazon CloudFront.

Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including www.amazon.com, www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.de, www.amazon.co.jp, www.amazon.fr, www.amazon.ca, and www.amazon.cn.

As used herein, “Amazon.com,” “we,” “our” and similar terms include Amazon.com, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.

 

Forward-Looking Statements

 

This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management's expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to competition, management of growth, new products, services and technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com's financial results is included in Amazon.com's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.

Kindle devices are sold through Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

 

Contact:

Amazon Media Hotline:

206-266-7180

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