Finding Whispersync for Voice or TTS enabled books
Kindle books have a lot of features that p-books (paperbooks) don’t have. However, not all of them work in all books or all types of devices/apps.
You probably don’t care about all of them equally, either.
For example, I won’t buy a book without text-to-speech (unless it is a graphic novel where the feature isn’t possible). I typically listen to it for hours a week in the car, and I don’t want to support books which don’t have it, because I feel that blocking the TTS (which is the way it works…if a publisher does nothing, TTS works) disproportionately disadvantages the disabled.
For you, though, TTS (software which converts the visual words into spoken words on the fly) might be no big thing. Most people probably don’t use it…that would be my guess.
On the other hand, you might like Whispersync for Voice, where you can sight read part of a book, switch to an audiobook (a recording of a person reading the book out loud, typically…very different fromTTS) and pick up where you left off.
Me? Meh. I just don’t use that…I’m not a big fan of audiobooks, unless I’ve already read the book (I don’t like the actor/author interpreting the characters for me), and I don’t tend to re-read very much. I can absolutely understand why people like it, though.
What’s weird to me is that Amazon doesn’t make it equally easy to search by all the different features.
Oh, I suppose some of it is marketing. If you point out that some books have TTS, you are really pointing out that others have blocked it…that may not be a message you want front and center as a retailer.
So, let’s take a look at finding books where you can use these two features, and then you can use one or both of them…up to you.
Whispersync for Voice
Amazon has a special easy-to-use web address for this one:
This actually takes you to the front page for this feature, which explains it and gives you links to free WSV books, ninety-nine centers…and in a wonderful new feature, it will automatically search your Kindle books looking for matches!
That was cool! It’s the best listing of WSV books I’ve seen. It shows you, easily, who the narrator is, and how much you’ll save getting the book as WSV as opposed to buying it separately as an audiobook (which you would have to do if you hadn’t bought the e-book). For me, for example, it showed this for
The fact that this is read by the truly significant author, Harlan Ellison, makes this much more intriguing for me.
If you want WSV, it’s easy to find.
If you only want books where text-to-speech hasn’t been blocked? Not so much.
Amazon doesn’t let you search by that, and doesn’t have a page for it.
What I’ve done, however, is use Google.
You can specify the site you want Google to search, by starting your search with something like “site:www.amazon.com”.
I’ve then added some search terms to make it more likely to find what I want.
For example, Kindle book product pages will have the term “ASIN” (Amazon Standard Identification Number) on them. That helps cut down on false positives in my search…for one thing, TTS gets discussed in the Amazon forums, and if I don’t include that ASIN, I’ll get a number of hits for those discussions, not for actual books.
Here is the search I used:
site:www.amazon.com “Text-to-Speech: Enabled” ASIN “Kindle price”
and the results:
Again, it’s not perfect, but it will work pretty well. You could add other things to that search if you want…for example, an author’s name:
site:www.amazon.com “Text-to-Speech: Enabled” ASIN “Kindle price” “Harlan Ellison”
or a topic:
site:www.amazon.com “Text-to-Speech: Enabled” ASIN “Kindle price” vampire
If you are wondering when to use the quotation marks and when not to use them, use them if you need more than one word to be taken as a single term. For example, if I did “vampire romance”, the found books would have to have that as a phrase. If I did
it will probably find books which have the word “vampire” and books that have the word “romance”. When I tested it, there were many, many more results when I didn’t use the quotation marks.
Have fun getting an earful of your books!
While we’re here, let’s do a quick poll:
Want to tell me more about it? Do you find that people consider it inferior to listen to books rather than sight-read them? I’ve gotten that from people: “You didn’t read it, you listened to it.” I wonder if those people think people with print disabilities aren’t reading the book? I will say, though, that I think my retention may not be as good when listening…perhaps because there is less mental processing involved. Do you prefer audiobooks over TTS? If so, why? Have you ever listened to TTS because you didn’t want to pay extra for an audiobook? That is, I think, why some publishers block TTS…they think that’s what happens. Feel free to let me and my readers (which likely include some publishers) know by commenting on this post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.