Random House Hears No Evil

Posted on April 4, 2009

hearnoevilOne of the more controversial features of the Kindle 2 is its Text-to-Speech (TTS) feature that can read a book out loud to you. Soon after the release of the product, Amazon updated the product’s firmware to enable publishers and writers to disable TTS feature for their books. The outcry that this feature competes with audio book versions and we should pay more for this enabled is a poor argument in my opinion. The synthesized voice in the Kindle 2 doesn’t even come close to the sound and emotion conveyed by a real person reading it out loud.

Random House has posted on their website that all new books purchased in digital e-book will have the Text-to-Speech featured disabled. I applaud them for coming out and stating it but I don’t think it will help improve their sales. The interesting thing is that I have a few books from Random House and the TTS feature is still enabled for now. If TTS is disabled on a book, I doubt it will make or break the decision of most readers to purchase the book.

Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t specify if a book has the Text-to-Speech disabled in their Kindle Book Store. Maybe they will add that in the future.

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