Amazon Got punked

Amazon announced that they will now modify the Kindle to allow the holder of the copyright to turn on/off the Text To Speech (TTS) functionality.


I thought I would put this in plain English, well sort of…


Amazon got Punked!


Now I don’t have any inside information so this is entirely speculative. I can imagine the discussions with The Author’s Guild (TAG – could also stand for The Anal Group!) went a little something like this.


Tag: “Look a here Amazon, you’re going to pay us for   this. We want more money.”


Amazon: "I don’t understand, all we are doing is letting the TTS engine read the text to the purchaser of the book." It’s quite different from an audio book”


TAG: “Pay up or else".”


Amazon: “Or else what?”


TAG: “You will find a lot of us making it really hard for you. You sell books, well we write books. We can make it really hard for you.”


Amazon: “Okay, you win!”


there was much discussion pointing out the obvious differences between professionally voiced audio books as compared to the TTS voices. Those unfamiliar with TTS are quick to  comment that they would never choose to have the book read to them. I can understand, I would have probably said the same thing a few years ago, before I had the need. While I prefer an audio book to a TTS,  there have been many books that I have wanted to read but never had the option or I had to wait months because an audio book was not available. I was not going to purchase the printed version only to spend hours scanning the book into a program that would convert the text to speech for me.


An opportunity is being missed by Amazon and The Anal Group, oopps I mean The Author’s Guild. With so many people aging, there will be a reduction in the ability to read standard print and more introductions to TTS, probably not by choice


Read the perspective of a book reviewer who depends on access to books  in her professional life.

Talkback on Publishers Weekly

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