Flash! Kindle for PC with Accessibility Plugin makes all books TTS enabled for the print disabled
Thanks so much to PF in the Amazon Kindle community for the heads-up on this!
As my regular readers know, I don’t like publishers blocking text-to-speech access in their Kindle store books. While it is legal from what I understand, I do think it disproportionately disadvantages the disabled.
I also think it is a bad business decision, personally. I think the publishers would sell more books by allowing it than they gain in audiobook sales by blocking it.
There has recently been a major step forward, even though it is not on the Kindles themselves.
Text-to-speech has not been available in the free Kindle reader apps. That includes on a computer with assistive technology that will normally read whatever is on the screen.
There is now a
that enables Kindle for PC to work with screen readers like JAWS (Job Access With Speech) and NVDA (Non Visual Desktop Access).
What does that mean?
Many people with print disabilities have programs on their computers called “screen readers” that read out loud to them the words on the screen. These are much more sophisticated than the built-in screen readers in operating systems (like Narrator in Windows and Voiceover for Mac OS X and iOS).
Those screen readers have not worked with Kindle for PC.
If you download the plugin, they will.
That means a blind person can have a computer read a Kindle book out loud to them. That book may be shared with people on the same account who are going to sight-read it…a really nice feature.
Yes, people who certify a print disability can get many books for free from organizations like http://www.bookshare.org . However, that isn’t all books…if you might be interested in some of the books from smaller publishers that are only available in the Kindle store, this plug-in will also make those available to you.
The issue of blocking text-to-speech access on the Kindles themselves should be reviewed again by the Copyright Office in about three years. They may decide at that point that it isn’t okay to do, but we’ll find out later about that.
In the meantime, this is a very positive addition to the accessibility features of Kindle books.
By the way, you may need to certify a disability to legally use some things designed for use by the print disabled.
I don’t know yet if it is available for Kindle for Mac or other Kindle reader apps.
For more information on text-to-speech and the Kindle, see this earlier article:
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog