How I got past an accessibility snag buying a book on the Pragmatic PRogrammer’s site

Posted on November 28, 2018

Two days ago I was reading some tweets and read one advertising a great deal. I know, the deal is probably over by the time most people read this post, but the books are still worth considering. :
Brian P. Hogan – : Hey folks. You can pick up my new CLI book  “Small Sharp Software Tools”  my Exercises for Programmers book  or my tmux “productive mouse-free development” book  in ebook form of 40% off for a limited time.

They make great gifts.

And I would appreciate the support.

Although graphical interfaces can some times be useful, I always have a terminal window open, so looked at his book and decided buying it would be an upgrade to my command-line know-how . Too bad the site didn’t have more accessibility know-how.

After some stumbling around I made an account on the Pragmatic PRogrammer’s site and had Brian’s book in my cart, but couldn’t get to the checkout screen.

Brian suggested I write to Pragmatic’s support email, and I got back a very helpful response.

Hi Kevin:
I’m sorry for the trouble that your having.
We’ve had this come up in the past. Could you try going directly to
https://t.co/8txuG7N9mg
while logged in to your account. Let me know if that works.

Kind Regards,
Pat the Gerbil

That link worked great, and I was able to breeze through the rest of the buying process.

Although fixing this accessibility snag would be the ultimate solution, at least there is a work around, and I wanted to share it with prospective screen reader using buyers.

And now my gentle message to the rest of the readers who are sighted. As long as ebooks don’t use screenshots when showing terminal commands or program code, they are completely accessible to blind readers, and paying the same price as sighted readers is totally ok by me. “Small Sharp Software Tools” only has a few screenshots, but as far as I can tell all of the terminal output and commands are raw text. Hopefully most if not yet all books from ebook publishers use as much raw text as possible. There are some serious geeks in the blind community, and the more accessible your ebooks, the more we’ll buy them
If a programming book has all of the code in screenshots, the book is completely unusable to blind readers, and they are totally excluded from the knowledge the author is sharing. I bought a book some years ago and all of the code was in images, so beyond not being able to learn from it that book also cost me around $30.
. I suppose screenshots are nice and pretty and all, but they’re also inaccessible to screen reader users; Any readers of this post who are also authors, I thank you for considering this when writing your books in the future.

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