The Joy of Text…to speech, that is

The Joy of Text…to speech, that is

My commute today was two hours…one way.

Okay, on the way back, it was only about one hour and forty-five minutes, just due to traffic patterns.

Welcome to California! 😉

That was actually unusually long for me (I traveled outside of my regular area to do a training). However, an hour one way is not far out of what I often do.

It can be tough driving…I’d say I was under twenty miles an hour for at least several miles at a stretch this morning.

I am a patient person, and really, I’m okay in a traffic jam. Physically, it’s a lot harder for me than it used to be. I have a chronic condition that makes it hard to sit for a long time…or stand for a short one. 😉

Mentally, though?

I look forward to a long commute.


Text-to-speech on my Kindle Fire HDX.

I’ve been using text-to-speech (software that reads a book out loud to you) regularly when driving since Amazon started giving it to us at no additional cost on the Kindle 2.

Unfortunately, none of the currently available new directly from Amazon EBRs (E-Book Readers) offer text-to-speech (they don’t have sound at all).

The Fire tablets all  do, though, including the $49.99

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

The TTS is sooo much better than it used to be!

I really like being able to enjoy my books while driving!

Today, I finished

The Capital of Latecomers (at AmazonSmile*)
by Nina Nenova, (Author), Vladimir Poleganov (Translator)

I wasn’t thrilled with the book. I did get it for free as one of the

Kindle First books (at AmazonSmile*)

and it was okay…I just didn’t think it was great.

It was reminiscent of Philip K. Dick, but it didn’t have that author’s magic for me.

Still, it was so much better than listening to talk radio or music, at least as far as I’m concerned.

There aren’t a lot of tricks to it.

One thing is to lock the orientation…swipe down from the top and lock the rotation.

If you don’t do that, the orientation may try to flip while you are driving…which will stop the TTS. That’s inconvenient, for sure! Locking the orientation stops that.

I actually run a physical cable to my car’s sound system, but in many cars (including mine), you’d have the option of Bluetooth. I do, but it runs down the battery too much for my tastes.

I keep a car charger in my car, but I don’t usually use it on my Fire while it is doing TTS. I get a buzzing when it’s plugged into the charger. I use the one that came in this set:

Pwr+ 2.1a Rapid Charger 2 in 1 Combo Ac Adapter Car Charger for Hd, Hdx, 6″ 7″ 8.9″ 9.7″ 4g Lte, Touch Tablets and Phones for Accelerated Charging (at AmazonSmile*)

Could I use audiobooks?

Sure, I could…I just down like them as much. I don’t like the narrator (be they author or actor) interpeting the characters for me.

There would also be the cost of an audiobook, typically…but as a

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I would have many, many available as part of my $9.99 monthly membership fee.

What I really want from my TTS is…more of it. 🙂

I want my

Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

to be able to do it.

Now, I even more want my

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*)

to be able to do it! Why the Fire TV 2 more than the Echo? It’s because I can listen to my Fire TV on a Bluetooth headset, which I can’t do currently with the Echo. I could listen to TTS on the wireless headset while exercising: nice!

I think that capability may come…at least, for books where the publisher hasn’t blocked the text-to-speech access**, or where the text isn’t available to the software (in some graphic novels, for example, the text is really part of the image)..

I’d also love some sort of wearable with it. It wouldn’t even need a screen where I could sight read the book…although, with Word Runner, the one word at a time speed reading software on the new Fire tablets, you could have a pretty small screen and still read a book reasonably well.

Yep, I give big thanks to September Day

An ILMK interview with September Day, the voice of the Kindle Fire HD

I have to say, in an average week, I probably listen to September more than I do to my Significant Other. 😉

We may get an EBR from Amazon again in the future with TTS…virtual fingers crossed.

What do you think? Do you like TTS? Like many people, do you hate it? If you do, have you heard the version on the tablets…you might change your mind. Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

** A Kindle with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books. 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

8 Responses to “The Joy of Text…to speech, that is”

  1. Harold Delk Says:

    II listen to books w/TTS through my Echo by playing them on a Fire tablet connected via Bluetooth to the Echo. A bit of a kludge, but sounds great.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Harold!

      If I’m listening to TTS at home, I don’t typically want it to be audible in the room…so I would do my Bluetooth headphones directly to my Fire tablet, which I have done. 🙂 However, being able to call it up verbally might influence that choice. 🙂

  2. Robert Anderson Says:

    My Kindle keyboard has male and female voices, does the new Kindle Fires ?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Robert!

      The new Fire tablets (they aren’t called Kindle Fires any more, by the way) have many more voice choices. 🙂

      For English (United States), you can choose Joey or Salli. Most languages (and there are many) have both male and female voices available. Are there particular languages you want to use?

      • Robert Anderson Says:

        Now I just need English, but would like the variety of voices, will have to consider the $49 Fire.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Robert!

        Gee, which English? 🙂 My Kindle Fire HDX has the following (and I’m guessing my $49 one will have the same…mine’s not hear yet):

        English (Australian): Nicole and Russell
        English (United Kingdom): Amy and Brian
        English (United States: Joey and Salli

      • Robert Anderson Says:

        Really would like my Voyage to have TTS, really would like to see an e-ink version soon with TTS

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Robert!

        I’m with you…although my guess is that they aren’t doing that. A wearable with TTS, maybe…

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