[Athen] Online eBook Accessibility

KRISTA L. GREEAR greeark at uw.edu
Thu Mar 27 17:29:08 PDT 2014

Great question. When I said "read the Kindle book IN the Kindle to PC software", I should have said "read the Kindle book WITH the Kindle to PC software". Short answer is yes, I did copy and paste text from the Kindle to PC software into CAR and Balabolka. The specifics of what I did are below:

1) Downloaded Kindle for PC on my Windows 7 computer

2) Found a free Kindle book that had text-to-speech enabled (each Kindle book will specify if text-to-speech is enabled in the product details - this is probably the kicker)

a. First time I used Tale of Two Cities.

b. Second time I used Taboo (CSI Reilly Steel).

3) Sent it to Kindle for PC

4) Went to a page in the book. Highlighted text. I used copy/paste keyboard shortcuts and used the copy option that automatically appears when you highlight text in the Kindle book.

5) Pasted into Word, CAR, NR and Balabolka.

Now, not all Kindle books will have text-to-speech enabled, someone will have to check. Balabolka and CAR will work with any text that you copy/paste into (I jokingly advertise that students can use these tools to read long Facebook posts). Copy/paste text into a TTS may be an annoying step for some students but they accept it real quickly when it means they can have a book in a couple of days instead of several weeks for a human or computer-generated audio version or highly formatted electronic version.

Another option for students if they don't want to copy/paste their Kindle books into certain TTS is to use Whispersync for Voice. I can spend $1 and get the professional narration for Tale of Two Cities (granted, I have to have an Audible account which requires a monthly fee).

I'm not saying this is the best option for alternate format because it's not. However, it is a tool that is relatively easy and free to use. Potentially great in a pinch.


From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Sean Keegan
Sent: Thursday, March 27, 2014 12:43 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: Re: [Athen] Online eBook Accessibility

Hi Krista,

I am interested in how you were able to get Balabolka or the Central Access Reader to read a Kindle book using the Kindle for PC application. I have not found a Kindle option for Balabolka and have found the Central Access Reader (CAR) to only use DOCX files for reading. Did you copy/paste the text out of the Kindle book and into another format?


Take care,

On Mar 27, 2014, at 12:30 PM, "KRISTA L. GREEAR" <greeark at uw.edu<mailto:greeark at uw.edu>> wrote:

I had a similar situation with a student this week. They wanted to be able to use TTS with the Kindle books they purchased. They have the Kindle to PC w/ Accessibility Plug in software on their Windows computer. I tested and was able to get Natural Reader, Balabolka and CAR (Central Access Reader) to read the Kindle book in the Kindle to PC software. The student doesn't want to have to learn how to use a screen reader (VoiceOver or NVDA) as they are sighted and find the additional navigation cues annoying. Thankfully, using Kindle books in this manner prevented the student from having to learn how to use another piece of software as the 3 TTS engines worked for me.

Krista Greear
Access Text & Technology Manager
Disability Resources for Students
(206) 543-8924
From: athen-list [athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu>] on behalf of Wink Harner [foreigntype at gmail.com<mailto:foreigntype at gmail.com>]
Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:27 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: [Athen] Online eBook Accessibility
Hi out there in ATHEN-Land,

Anyone have any first-hand experience with the use of screen readers or TTS readers with online textbook sources such as:
- Chegg
- CourseSmart
- GooglePlay-
- Kindle
- Kno
- Vital Source

Publisher denied a PDF file and suggested the student purchase one of the electronic versions of the requested book from the sources (above). Student's preference is PDF, but if he can get the file to read aloud, he may be OK. I have asked him for his preference.

What experience do any of you have in the TTS capabilities on any of those e-book sources listed?

Let me know!

Thanks in advance for your collective knowledge.

Wink Harner
foreigntype at gmail.com<mailto:foreigntype at gmail.com>

athen-list mailing list
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