eBooks rights alert about Amazon's Kindle 2 "Text to Speech" feature

On Feb 10, 2009, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled Amazon's Kindle 2 e-book reading device at the Morgan Library in New York. One update, however, is wholly new: Amazon has added a "Text to Speech" function that reads the e-book aloud through the use of special software. The Author's Guild aired complaints about the Kindle 2's […]

On Feb 10, 2009, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled Amazon's Kindle 2 e-book reading device at the Morgan Library in New York. One update, however, is wholly new: Amazon has added a "Text to Speech" function that reads the e-book aloud through the use of special software.

The Author's Guild aired complaints about the Kindle 2's new onboard text-to-speech function from predictive text specialists Nuance Communications, warning that the function could eventually cut into the audiobook market. “This presents a significant challenge to the publishing industry. Audiobooks surpassed $1 billion in sales in 2007; e-book sales are just a small fraction of that. While the audio quality of the Kindle 2, judging from Amazon's promotional materials, is best described as serviceable, it's far better than the text-to-speech audio of just a few years ago. We expect this software to improve rapidly.”