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Kindle 2 text-to-speech PR debacle

March 2, 2009

Amazon released Kindle 2 with text-to-speech. This feature will read the contents of the book to you, in a typical computer generated voice. I.e., hiccuped and not terribly smooth.

When the authors and publishers of Kindle’s books heard, they got upset. They believe it would eliminate or severely reduce their audio book sales, and consider text-to-speech a derivative work (i.e, a copy).

Amazon has just announced that they will support the option to turn off text-to-speech on each individual book that an author requests.

Now the unfortunate part of this debacle is that the owners of the Kindle believe that Amazon doesn’t stick up for them, since they were so easy to cave to the author’s demands.

This feature was never expected to be in the Kindle in the first place. Now that their customers have been given it, they demand to have it.

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