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From Amazon
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Statement from Amazon.com Regarding Kindle 2's Experimental Text-to-Speech Feature
SEATTLE, Feb 27, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Kindle 2's experimental text-to-speech feature is legal: no copy is made, no derivative work is created, and no performance is being given. Furthermore, we ourselves are a major participant in the professionally narrated audiobooks business through our subsidiaries Audible and Brilliance. We believe text-to-speech will introduce new customers to the convenience of listening to books and thereby grow the professionally narrated audiobooks business.
Nevertheless, we strongly believe many rightsholders will be more comfortable with the text-to-speech feature if they are in the driver's seat.

Therefore, we are modifying our systems so that rightsholders can decide on a title by title basis whether they want text-to-speech enabled or disabled for any particular title. We have already begun to work on the technical changes required to give authors and publishers that choice. With this new level of control, publishers and authors will be able to decide for themselves whether it is in their commercial interests to leave text-to-speech enabled. We believe many will decide that it is.

Customers tell us that with Kindle, they read more, and buy more books. We are passionate about bringing the benefits of modern technology to long-form reading.
 

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What? Not liking this one bit.

If the publisher can decide not to let K2 users have text to speech, than we should be informed before buying a book if it is available or not.
 

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While I do love this feature I purchased knowing this would probably happen. I can definitely understand the authors viewpoint.  Audiobooks are a big business. I would personally rather keep cheaper prices than have authors/publishers raise the price to compensate for the text-to-speech feature.
 

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Atunah said:
What? Not liking this one bit.

If the publisher can decide not to let K2 users have text to speech, than we should be informed before buying a book if it is available or not.
I think it would be a good idea to state it next to the book, whether the text to speech function is available with the particular book.
 

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But really, text to speech is nothing like a audio book. It isn't going to take the place off. Its meant for in between, in car, treadmill etc.
If they implement that, they should be required, and Amazon or course to clearly mark the lack of text to speech for that particular book. That way one can make a choice to not bother with it, or get it anyway. But They need to be open about it.
 

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This sort of upsets me.  I wish they would have made this decision prior to shipping.  I am not sure that I would have changed my mind, but it seems so icky to change this so shortly after sending these out. 

I leaned toward buying K2 because of text to speech. 
 

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I think this is going to be just like it is now with DTB vs. Kindlebooks on Amazon...we can click a button that we would like to see text-to speech for this particular Kindlebook. So as to "encourage" Amazon and/or the publisher to make it happen.

As for the thought that this missing functionality is a "deal killer" for purchasing a K2...some may be affected, but most are not buying to have a book read to them (in my opinion).

On a side note, I am assuming this will not affect personal documents and/or free books (guttenburg, etc.).
 

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jeremy81 said:
While I do love this feature I purchased knowing this would probably happen. I can definitely understand the authors viewpoint. Audiobooks are a big business. I would personally rather keep cheaper prices than have authors/publishers raise the price to compensate for the text-to-speech feature.
Audiobooks are a big business but after my text-to-speech experiment the other day, there is no way that I consider them comparable media. If I wanted to listen to a book, I'd buy, rent, or borrow a copy of the recorded audio book. I could not possibly listen to an entire book via text-to-speech.

Too bad Amazon is caving on this, but it is probably a case of picking their battles carefully. In the big scheme of things, this is small potatoes.

L
 

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I would definitely demand that Amazon declare whether or not each book is TTS enabled.  I would then probably boycott those books that don't allow it.  :mad:
 

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Neversleepsawink;) said:
Thats bad, they should of let everyone know it was optional.
Well. . . .I think they just did. :)

From reading the press release, it seems to me that all they're saying is that if the publishers/authors prefer it turned off for their books they'll do so. I don't see it as 'caving' but just as trying to acknowledge that some folks have a problem with it. Folks who, by the way, possibly haven't heard "Tom" read their book but are just reacting to the Author's Guild position. I expect that that Amazon willl be demonstrating the feature in comparison to a Real Audiobook as part of their negotiation with authors/publishers.

Ann
 

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Good point, Ann. Maybe "caving" is too strong a word.

Heck, this may never even happen. They *say* this is a solution but there is a big distance between a press release and actual implementation.

L
 

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I wonder if this raises any ADA issue.  Especially for someone that bought a Kindle specifically for this reason due to a disability that makes reading difficult.  It could deny the required access to some Kindle users.
 

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That's disappointing. I also wouldn't have bought K2. However, if authors need to actively opt out, it may not be as bad.
 
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