Yesterday was Alexa’s birthday and she gave away a joke book, “Tell Me a Joke” through Kindle. Unfortunately, it is inaccessible using either Voiceover on my iPhone or Kindle for PC with JAWS (my screen reading software).

            I contacted Amazon’s disability helpline and they promised to send my complaint in. They acknowledged that the accessibility features “weren’t turned on”. The customer service rep didn’t seem to think I’d ever hear back, but reiterated that he’d turn in my comment.

            I’m frustrated. Both Alexa and Kindle have great potential for increasing accessibility to written matter for blind people. If it’s just a matter of “turning on” accessibility features, why wouldn’t Amazon do it on this promotional giveaway?

            I’m aware this is a “first world” blind problem. I’m aware there are many joke books available to me in accessible format and I can just ask Alexa to tell me a joke.  But it feels like being invited to a party and then being told at the door, “actually you’re not wanted.”

            Am I madder about this than I would have been pre-Covid? Probably. So, I get to practice those stress management skills I’m always recommending like take a walk, distract yourself with something pleasurable, etc. Luckily, I was able to download the new Grisham book The Judge’s List and it is an engrossing read.

            To end this diatribe with a smile, here’s a limerick from The Mammoth Book of Filthy Limericks that does consider accessibility:

                                    “On the breast of a barmaid named Gail

                                    Was written the price of the ale

                                    And on her behind,

                                    For the sake of the blind

                                    Was the same information in Braille.”