Thursday, May 14, 2009

Disabling of Text-to-Speech by Random House has begun

Bruce S. Woodcock has alerted us to a MobileRead Forum notice by KarlB that Random House (Knopf) has begun disabling the Kindle-2 text-to-speech feature, which is computerized speech that has almost no appropriate affect, often mispronounces words, and doesn't pause between paragraphs, headings, or chapters on its Kindle books - and it's unclear whether or not the author gets a choice in this disabling.

 The above link takes you to Bruce's announcement and the forum discussions on this.  While forum members are a small percentage of Kindle owners, they tend to know other Kindle owners and there has been a resulting resistance to Random House's policy, in the form of plans to not buy Random House Kindle books while they are doing this.  They also proposed using the Amazon tagging system to add a "No tts" tag to alert other customers to an author who chose disabling this feature.

The disabling of TTS on a book hurts the disabled most, since most Kindle owners use the computerized voice only for brief periods (while cooking or commuting in the car) and they don't buy the book to 'listen' to it, especially not via a monotone voice.

Does Random House appreciate the fact that the Kindle owner has purchased the book to read?  Do people who buy hardcopy books to read THEN go buy the audiobook ?  Where is their loss on this?  Kindle owners can't share their Kindle books except with someone ON their account, so just what is the problem for Authors Guild and Random House?

There is a Kindle book titled The Disabled Deserve to Read: The Controversy Over the Amazon Kindle's Voice, by Bufo Calvin, for 80 cents.
  The product description says: "The author's proceeds will go towards purchasing Kindles to donate to non-profit organizations."

  From what I remember, the Authors Guild has proposed tests they will put disabled people through to see if they 'qualify' for getting a computerized voice reading to them.  To me, there's something quite dark about that.
  Related blog article on "Tom," the Kindle-2 voice Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle

(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

No comments:

Post a Comment

NOTE: TO AVOID SPAM being posted instantly, this blog uses the "DELAY" feature.

Am often away much of the day, and postings won't show up right away. Posts done to use referrer-links may never show up.

Usually, am online enough to release comments within a day though, so the hard-to-read match-text tests for commenting won't be needed this way.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Thanks for participating.

Technical Problems?
If you're having problems leaving a Comment, Google's blogger-help asks that you clear the '' cookies on your browser's Tools or Options menu bar and that will fix the Comment-box problems (until they have a permanent fix).

IF that doesn't work either, then UNcheck the "keep me signed in" box -- Google-help says that should allow your comment to post (it's a workaround to a current bug).
Apologies for the problems.

TIP: There's a size limit. If longer than 3500 characters or so, in a text editor, make two posts out of it.

[Valid RSS]