Text-To-Speech in the Amazon Kindle

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Re: Text-To-Speech in the Amazon Kindle

Postby spot » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:10 pm

Linnea wrote:How is OMFG ROTFLMAO pronounced by a computer? Would it say each letter or would it sound like it was speaking Mongolian?

I hear it as a sort of inane rising giggle with a hint of hysteria to it. lololol.
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Re: Text-To-Speech in the Amazon Kindle

Postby Linnea » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:17 pm

spot wrote:
Linnea wrote:How is OMFG ROTFLMAO pronounced by a computer? Would it say each letter or would it sound like it was speaking Mongolian?

I hear it as a sort of inane rising giggle with a hint of hysteria to it. lololol.


Pretty much how I imagine OD sounding then.
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Re: Text-To-Speech in the Amazon Kindle

Postby sledge » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:03 am

I believe in fair use of technology and can't see the problem?.. they just want more money. You can easily convert text to speech yourself through most programs whether free or bought. I have text to speech software on my PC and can convert any text to a computer voice which is not exactly the same quality if my mum read the book to me. I say screw big business and Rupert Murdoch while I'm at it! :WTF:
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Re: Text-To-Speech in the Amazon Kindle

Postby Brian » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:12 am

sledge wrote:I believe in fair use of technology and can't see the problem?.. they just want more money. You can easily convert text to speech yourself through most programs whether free or bought. I have text to speech software on my PC and can convert any text to a computer voice which is not exactly the same quality if my mum read the book to me. I say screw big business and Rupert Murdoch while I'm at it! :WTF:


That's pretty much my take, Sledge. I would like to be an author someday when I grow up :D, but I think they're taking it too far, in this case. If you didn't produce it, you don't deserve to get paid for it, and when the Kindle produces speech from your text, you didn't do anything to produce that speech.
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Re: Text-To-Speech in the Amazon Kindle

Postby Brian » Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:27 am

I never thought I'd be plugging Apple for anything (and frankly, I feel a little dirty doing so), but it appears that the new iPad is the e-reader you want right now, if you're visually handicapped. The entire OS is voice-enabled through a technology Apple calls VoiceOver, and that extends to the ebook application (iBooks). Because the whole OS is voice-enabled, there's probably not a lot the Authors' Guild can say about it (which is probably why they haven't raised holy hell about it yet).
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Re: Text-To-Speech in the Amazon Kindle

Postby Brian » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:17 pm

I had an apparent delusion of grandeur this afternoon, so I decided to write Jeff Bezos and plead my case re: the Kindle and text-to-speech. Here's what I wrote:

"Mr. Bezos:

First, I want to congratulate you on your success with the Kindle e-book reader, and the success of the various software platforms that support other mobile devices for reading Kindle books. It is truly a remarkable achievement to have jump-started the e-book industry with such an innovative platform. I applaud your success.

I'm writing this e-mail because I believe that recent events now allow you to take the next logical step with the Kindle device, and remove the ability for publishers to disable the Read To Me feature. While I understand the reason you included this feature in the Kindle 2 initially, I believe that recent events make the ability to remove the Read To Me feature from e-books irrelevant and anachronistic.

The e-book market is very different now, compared to when you released the Kindle 2 in February 2009. From what I've read, you now sell more e-books than you do paper books. As a result of this, you have more leverage with authors and publishers. While there are certainly other devices they could publish to, your brand is the most popular and well-known.

Another change in the market recently has been the introduction of the Apple iPad. As I'm sure you're aware, the iPad has Apple's VoiceOver technology, which reads aloud what's on the screen. This has two effects relevant to the e-book discussion: It allows all titles purchased on iBooks to be read aloud to the user, and it allows all books loaded through the Kindle app on the iPad to be read aloud to the user, regardless of whether or not the publisher disabled text-to-speech in that particular e-book on the Kindle. As far as the iPad is concerned, the limitation on text-to-speech simply doesn't exist. And yet, I don't recall reading about Random House or the Authors' Guild complaining to Apple about this. The iPad puts some competitive pressure on the Kindle in this regard, but it also presents you with an opportunity. It allows you to justifiably say that the marketplace has moved beyond the need to disable text-to-speech in e-books, and the iPad's embrace by the publishing community proves it.

I know that you and your company are very concerned about technological accessibility for the disabled. It shows both in the Read To Me feature, and in the fact that you've enabled text-to-speech in the menus on the Kindle 3. I believe that recent events present you with an opportunity to further that interest, and make your reader more useful to visually impaired users, and users in general. With a firmware update, you could simply revoke the ability to disable the Read To Me feature in all Kindle e-books, making the technology available to all users alike.

Again, I congratulate you for creating the Kindle and the Kindle platform, and wish you many further years of success."

Of course, like a dumbass, I forgot to include a closing. :doh:
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About the things you could not show her."

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Re: Text-To-Speech in the Amazon Kindle

Postby sledge » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:00 am

what's all the fuss about the speech software in amazon Kindle? either grab the ipad that brian mentioned above or get a 3rd Party Text to speech software for nothing. I don't really need text to speech but have the used the microsoft program which came with the machine when i can't be bothered to read. :lol:
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Re: Text-To-Speech in the Amazon Kindle

Postby Brian » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:14 am

sledge wrote:what's all the fuss about the speech software in amazon Kindle? either grab the ipad that brian mentioned above or get a 3rd Party Text to speech software for nothing. I don't really need text to speech but have the used the microsoft program which came with the machine when i can't be bothered to read. :lol:


Although I'm sure many people will buy the iPad and use it as an e-book reader, the cost difference is so great that I imagine that anyone who primarily intends to read books will just opt for the Kindle. There's about a $350 difference between a wifi-only Kindle and a wifi-only iPad.
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About the things you could not show her."

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Re: Text-To-Speech in the Amazon Kindle

Postby sledge » Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:02 am

the cheaper option for those handicapped is to get the audio book instead. I really don't see these e-readers taking off for a few years to come.
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Re: Text-To-Speech in the Amazon Kindle

Postby Brian » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:10 am

sledge wrote:the cheaper option for those handicapped is to get the audio book instead. I really don't see these e-readers taking off for a few years to come.


I don't know too much about the adoption rate of the Kindle device itself, but Amazon claims now that e-books outsell paper books on its site. Because the Kindle software works on other devices, it's not necessarily the case that the Kindle device itself is a enormous success, but e-books in general seem to be.

As far as audio books are concerned, I could be wrong about this, but audio books don't appear to me to be a cheaper option (at least, not for the books themselves). I checked out Audible.com, and their offerings seem to be substantially more expensive than Amazon's e-books. You also have to keep in mind that there's lots of free e-book material available for Kindle and the other e-book readers.

Being digital is also a big advantage. You can take all kinds of documents (e.g., PDFs, DOC files, TXT files) and run them through a program to put them on your Kindle. To my knowledge, you can't do that with a regular audio device. If you go with books on tape, you're stuck with whatever books they've decided to record. The pool of e-books is much, much larger.
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Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her."

-- Counting Crows, "A Long December"
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