Getting accessible books should be this easy

This entry originally appeared on my disability blog, I hate stairs.

Yesterday, I was browsing various design websites in search of inspiration for a new project I’ve begun. I got sidetracked by clicking on a few off-topic links (that never happens!) and somehow ended up reading the first chapter of “Speak Human” by Eric Karjaluoto.

The book discussed the advantages of not being a huge company. Though the publisher is giving the book away free one chapter at a time via the Web site, I could not wait to get my hands on the rest of it. After a little investigation, I discovered that the book was published by a “digital agency” called smashLAB. They seemed cool enough, so I used a strategy which has failed me when dealing with other (larger) publishers: I simply asked for an on-screen version. In a tweet, that is. What normally would have taken weeks, or months, or never, took only an hour and a half. It went like this:

blakewatson: Hey @smashLAB, is there a way to get a digital version of “Speak Human” on my Mac?

smashLAB: @blakewatson Not at this time. For now it’s paperback, Kindle, and free in browser. That said, I hear Amazon is working on Kindle for Mac.

blakewatson: @smashLAB I’d gladly buy the paperback, except I can’t hold it.

smashLAB: @blakewatson That’s the first good reason I’ve received for a screen-only version. Let me see what we can sort out. :-)

smashLAB: @blakewatson Do you run Parallels or have a dual-boot machine?

blakewatson: @smashLAB I run Vista with VirtualBox.

smashLAB: @blakewatson In that case, you could install this: http://gu.nu/Ify and then get this: http://gu.nu/aI9

Problem solved.

Okay, I admit that it is not the most ideal fix. I’m not really looking forward to doing my reading inside Windows Vista, but hey, it is a fix and it is better than struggling with a paperback. I may wait for Kindle on Mac or until the Web site version is posted in its entirety. Probably whichever comes first.

Of course, the interesting point in all of this is that smashLAB lived up to the ideas in the book. Guess you will just have to check out the book to know what I mean. ;-)