Proposal: Ebooks

Folks with various and sundry causes for visual problems need specialized software to read in very large fonts on personal computer screens (like a lawyer I know). So, here's a question: Will specialized software intended to allow the blind or visually handicapped to read ebooks in popular formats (PDF, MOBI, EPUB, et al.) be on topic, or off topic?

1 Answer 1


Since nobody answered to this, I will try to answer. This is a point that has not been touched in example questions so this is more my opinion than something deducted from what has been voted on.

This proposal is mainly intended for ebook reader devices and the formats in which ebooks come (epub and mobi). I would not count pdf to these formats, but the problems a visually impaired person has are probably related to those one has when trying to view a large pdf on a small reader. In both cases one effectively tries to enlarge the content without losing its structure or extract its text to reflow it (or have it spoken).

Functions for the visually impaired in ebook readers (text-to-speech, menus read aloud) would definitely be on topic.

Ebook reader software compatibility with screenreader software would probably be on topic, because those are things closely connected to the formats (and possibly drm).

Reading pdfs is something I would see as off topic. SuperUser is probably a better place for asking questions about this. But I am not sure about this.

Screenreaders alone (without connection to another program) on any other device than a dedicated ebook reader is definitely off topic.

  • The issues for pdf and epub/mobi reading for visual impair do differ as epub is flowable txt and can be easily manipulated, pdf is a page description language and the author sets the sizing etc so is more difficult to chnage
    – mmmmmm
    Dec 9, 2013 at 21:51
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    @Mark I see that those are different. My point was that epub/mobi are usually closely related to ebooks. Getting a pdf reader to work with a texttospeech engine on a pc (or cell phone) is something I would consider more on topic on SuperUser than here. Of course the case would be different on an ebook reader (but are visually impaired people using these?). I think in my opinion the question of whether pdfs are on topic boils down to whether they are considered ebooks or "normal" documents and where to draw the line.
    – Tim
    Dec 11, 2013 at 9:03

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