Amazon Backs Down on Kindle 2 Text-to-Speech

Kindle 2

Amazon’s recent release of the Kindle 2 e-book reader hasn’t gone without its own problems. Quite impressive as the new e-book reader may seem, Amazon still has to suffer some sort of a downgrade with the gadget’s text to speech feature. And this has nothing to do with the software.

The said downgrade stemmed from pressure exerted by the Authors Guild on Kindle 2’s text to speech feature. The said feature was offered initially to cover all books offered by Amazon in its selection, turning reading text automatically into sound that enables users to read or listen to articles and books as they choose. But fear among members of the Authors Guild of Kindle 2 becoming a potential audio book player instead of just a plain reader led them to question and go against this new text to speech feature.

No, the matter has yet to be resolved whether using this feature on the Kindle 2 is right or wrong. But in order not to complicate things, has instead decided to offer the text to speech feature of the Kindle 2 as an option that the publishers can exercise. This means that the publishers of the books available for the Kindle 2 has the final say on whether to have the books available for the gadget’s TTS feature.

Arguments between the two sides may still be fierce. The Guild believes that giving the e-books some audio functionality may be a violation of the author’s book rights. After all, the audio book industry is also a multi-billion dollar industry and may affect earnings the authors may get from their books. But on the other hand, many also believe that giving this right to publishers to enable TTS on a title to title basis may just lead some people to turn to piracy which may also harm the authors themselves.

Well, the argument on this can go on and on. But at this point, Amazon chose to take the safer option and the path of least resistance. By giving in to the Authors Guild, e-books for the Kindle 2 may continue to abound. But this action may also set a certain precedent on authorship and copyright issues. Such issues may take a long time to resolve. And the usual victims are usually the book readers and the gadget users.

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