Text-to-speech on a per-title basis

Sun 1 Mar 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 2 Comments | Posted by: Gavin

Happy to see PW reporting that Amazon backed down on the text-to-speech debacle. It’s not that the robotic voice reading a book aloud is a huge problem now, but letting it go now would create huge problems later when contextual reading widgets will allow text-to-speech to sound more human. (10 years? More like 5?):

In a surprising about-face, Amazon has decided to give publishers and authors the choice over whether or not to enable the Kindle 2’s text-to-speech function…. Despite protests from the Authors Guild, Amazon’s move came as a surprise since the company rarely reverses a policy once it is in place….

Amazon are the 800lb gorilla everyone in publishing deals with and they own so many parts of the book business that we have to be careful with every move they make. No doubt we are missing some of the ramifications of their actions right now….

Their market share isn’t that high, but it is enough that they can dictate terms—and they are not particularly kind. It’s a relief to see IndieBound getting more creative and useful, being able to link to individual titles should have been available years ago, but at least it’s available now.


2 Responses to “Text-to-speech on a per-title basis”

  1. Kay on March 5th, 2009 11:27 am

    Nice to see a note from someone who understands there’s more than one side to this story.

    And related to another entry of yours (hopefully not too shameless a plug?), I’d like to put a good word in for the audio edition of MANUAL OF DETECTION (and not just because my company published it).

    I’d be happy to give a few copies of it a good home, if anyone is interested in listening and blogging on it.

  2. lcrw on March 6th, 2009 6:36 pm

    Kay, this sounds like a great idea! We’ve already heard from some readers who liked the audio edition (as well as many who like the book, of course!). We’d be happy to run a competition here (or Jed could on his groovy site) for listeners.

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