Product Review Kindle Fire
Shines Brightly for People with Disabilities
By John M. Williams
I am a voracious reader. Biographies, history books,
novels and politics consume my unsatisfied appetite for reading and learning.
My favorite American president is Abraham Lincoln. I have
more than 28 books on him in my library. My favorite mystery writer is Sir
Arthur Conan Doyle. My favorite humor writer is Mark Twain. I have books either
on them or by Doyle, Twain, Charles Dickens and others in my library.
Last year, my family asked me what I wanted for Christmas,
and I responded, A Kindle. On Christmas Day, I got my wish.
I received a Kindle Fire, a tablet computer version of
Amazon.com's Kindle e-book reader. Once it was set up, I downloaded for free a
book about Sherlock Holmes, "The Life of Abraham Lincoln" and "The
Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin." When I finished reading them, I purchased
the trilogy "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "The Girl Who Kicked the
Hornets Nest" and "The Girl Who Played with Fire." These six books are on
my shelf in my Kindle. I cant imagine carrying these and other books with
me either in paperback or, God forbid, hardcover.
Buying books to read on the Kindle is cheaper than buying
them in a store. I purchased the trilogy for much less than I would have paid
for the books in hardcover or paperback. Books can be downloaded in fewer than
I am reading "The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe"
by Kate Buford. Before I purchase a book or download one for free, I can
download for free two or three chapters.
The Kindle offers many features to like. When I want to
stop reading, I can bookmark where I stopped, and the next time I open the
book, I open it to that page. When I finish reading a page, I lightly touch the
left-hand corner of the page, and the next page automatically appears. I can go
back to pages by lightly moving my finger or stylus to the right.
I can enlarge the print or make it smaller by touching an
Aa icon. There are eight print sizes. I can also adjust the line spacing,
brightness and page margins. For people with vision challenges, these features
are a plus.
The accessible-reading features induce me to believe
the needs of visually impaired people were considered in designing it,
said Sharon Gallagher, who owns a Kindle and is visually impaired.
In addition, there is ample lighting on each page, so you
can read in the dark.
The Kindle offers thousands of books to read. Some of its
offers include Kindle Singles, Editors Picks, 100 Kindle books for $3.99
or less, Kindle Owners Lending Library, New York Times Best Sellers,
Childrens Picture Books and Comic Books. The number of categories in
Kindles lending library astonished me.
The Kindle, though, offers more than books. It has
newspapers, magazines, comic books, music, videos of movies and TV shows, web
access and apps (including ones for email and audible.com). A touchscreen
keyboard allows a user to search for books, songs, movies and TV programs and
to access the Web. Amazon.com allows users to buy from a slew of available
The audio quality of the videos and music is superb. The
same excellence applies to the visual quality. When watching a video, I can
pause it; I also can adjust the volume and the brightness. I rented "The Ides
of March" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and I paused each of them for
30 minutes. I was able to resume watching both movies where I paused them.
I enjoy listening to audio books when I am traveling. I
intend to make great use of audible.com. Walter Adams, who owns a Kindle and
has a hearing problem, said: I listen to a book a week with pleasure.
Audible.coms sound quality is a boon for me. He has told his
hearing-impaired friends about audible.coms features, and he has
encouraged them to buy a Kindle.
My Kindle cost around $300. There are cheaper ones, but
they dont do as much.
I am thrilled to have my Kindle. It houses more than
reading materials. It is a unique, versatile, expansive entertainment center.
It is a communications wonder. It provides many wondrous benefits to people
write to jwilliams@ atechnews.com. John Williams' website is