According to the National Federation of the Blind, Syracuse and the University of Wisconsin are expected to announce today that they won't hand out Amazon's Kindle to students until the e-reader is more accessible to the visually impaired. The Federation's gripe is with usability.
The future of reading should probably include blind people too.
The Kindle has a read-aloud feature which, they admit, is actually great news for blind people. Even though it's incongruously creepy to hear an 19th-century Victorian novel like "Jane Eyre" read by HAL from 2001: A Space Oddysey, it's still an improvement over the current technology. The problem comes when you ask someone who can't see to navigate an on-screen menu, the only way currently to turn the feature on.
Amazon's people say they're working on it. And they better be. Because while it may be OK to piss off a small group of consumers when you're the only game in town, it's quite another to make enemies when you've got stiff competition.