Archive for the ‘Text to speech’ Category

Text-to-speech comes to the Paperwhite

May 13, 2016

Text-to-speech comes to the Paperwhite

Regular readers know that text-to-speech is an important issue to me.

TTS is software which reads a book out loud to you. It’s a way to access the text, like increasing the text size.

It is not, by the way, a computer generated “robot” voice. A human being reads…it’s just that they aren’t reading the book you are reading.:) The software then assembles what they have read (which might involve individual sounds, bu often does entire phrases, which can give it intonation) to match your book. I interviewed September Day, the voice to which I listen on my now discontinued Kindle Fire HD7:

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

about the process, and I thought that was one of my better posts.

I do listen to TTS: typically, for hours a week in the car.

It’s converted driving time from, as I like to say, “wasted non-reading time”.ūüėČ

That’s not why the issue matters to me, though. While I have been listening to TTS since it came to the Kindle with the Kindle 2, it’s more a matter of fairness to me. I’ve written about the issue, particularly in this piece from about five and a¬†half years ago:

The Disabled Deserve to Read

I actually consciously try not to write about it too much, just because I like the blog to be eclectic, and not to focus on anything too much. Here’s the category on ILMK:

Text to speech

Many people have expressed concern that Amazon’s more recent EBRs (E-Book Readers…not tablets) have not had TTS. To be clear, it’s because they haven’t had audio at all…no TTS, no music, no audiobooks. Presumably, that might be to reduce the size (including weight)¬†of the device (even a headphone jack takes up room), and maybe to increase battery charge use.

When I listen to TTS now, I am commonly doing it on the Kindle Fire. Our

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

also does TTS, although I haven’t used it for that much.

If a tablet can read TTS, why care about it on an EBR?

Well, EBRs have much longer battery charge life, even when using TTS, I believe. A device may also be shared between someone with a print disability and someone without one. Some people also can sight read some things (large graphs and images, perhaps), but use TTS for others.

So, some customers definitely want TTS for EBRs.

Amazon has come up with a solution!

Kindle Paperwhite Blind and Visually Impaired Readers Bundle – Includes Kindle Paperwhite with Wi-Fi and Special Offers, Kindle Audio Adapter, and $19.99 Account Credit (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Not surprisingly, it requires another piece of hardware (bundled at the above link), and it’s a pretty big dongle…not elegant working.

Still, this is an important innovation!

There are some key things to know:

  • This audio adapter needs to be used with a special EBR…it won’t work with your existing Paperwhite
  • You additionally need headphones or a speaker: that’s not included
  • It does more than just read TTS: it includes touch navigation abilities
  • It will not enable music or audiobooks
  • It’s currently for the Paperwhite, but should be coming to other contemporary models

I’ve asked Amazon two questions…I’m hoping they respond today, and after I hear something, I’ll update this post.

One is that they consistently say this is for people with print disabilities. That’s similar to

Flash! Kindle for PC with Accessibility Plugin makes all books TTS enabled for the print disabled

which works on PCs.

Why does that matter?

The law treats making text available to people with print disabilities different from making it available to the general public.

The Chafee Amendment said that certain groups could make accessible versions of books available to people with print disabilities without first getting permission from the rightsholders.

We can see that with

Bookshare

They say

“In order for you to become a Bookshare¬ģ member, an expert must confirm that you have a print disability that prevents you from reading traditional print materials. Anyone in the world with a qualifying print disability may join Bookshare.”

Now, my strong assumption here is that Amazon is not going to require any sort of certification to order this device, but I’ve asked them, just to be sure.

My other question for them has to do with when publishers choose to block text-to-speech access in a book.

Some of them do that, at least with some titles, although I’m sure it is a lot less than it used to be.

To be clear, they have to take an action, actually insert code into the file to block the access. If a publisher does nothing, TTS works with the book. That’s why you can use it on personal documents…which I also do.

I always would have preferred if Amazon indicated whether TTS was “blocked” or not on a book’s Amazon product page, rather than whether it is “enabled” or not, but I suspect this was a compromise with the publishers. The TTS can’t access the text (at least, the current software can’t) if it is part of an illustration: in a graphic novel or children’s illustrated book, or example. That could be an argument for saying “enabled”, but I don’t really buy it.:)

It’s possible this device works even if TTS has been blocked. That might seem odd, but that is the case with the Kindle for PC plug-in.

That is why certification of the print disability hypothetically would matter.

Publishers do have to have a version of their e-books which is accessible to those with print disabilities.

It isn’t that every version of the e-book has to be accessible…which is why they can block TTS in a Kindle store book, as long as a version of the book is accessible to those with print disabilities. They do not have to make one with TTS available to the general public.

Since the publishers don’t appear to have made that an issue with the plug-in, I’m guessing it won’t be an issue here.

I think I will hear that you don’t need to certify a print disability, and that it will work with e-books with TTS blocked, but we’ll see what they say. I wouldn’t personally use the device to get around the block: I think the block is legal (although highly ill-advised), and I don’t need it. For people with print disabilities, though, it is legal for them to get around the block, so it would be fine for them.

While Amazon and the disabled community have had some issues (the large screen Kindle DX may have failed in the market in part because of objections to it being used in colleges, lodged in part by a print disabled advocacy group, and for a while, there were concerns about closed captioning in videos…something about which Amazon is very explicit in their new on demand video program), they have also featured information about their accessibility features prominently.

Overall, kudos to Amazon for this solution. I’d still like to see TTS return to EBRs without a dongle and for the general public, but I appreciate the effort which went into this development. I also think we may see it in another device, like a wearable, but that’s not the same as an accessibility question.

While I had already been planning to write about this, I want to thank reader Elaine Jordan for a heads-up on an article about it. I always appreciate links to interesting articles, and interactions with my readers help to make this blog better.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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! :)  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.

Publishers: how high can your sales get without these features?

May 3, 2016

Publishers: how high can your sales get without these features?

A lot is made out of the special features that e-books can give you: text-to-speech, which can read text out loud, making books more accessible for those with print challenges and more convenient for others; X-Ray, which gives you more information about the elements of a book (characters, places, and more); Word Wise, which helps you learn vocabulary; and others.

However, while some e-book advantages are pretty universal, like dictionary look-up and increasable text sizes, the one listed above are not.

In some cases, the publisher makes a choice about whether or not a feature is available; in others, whether it happens (or not) is¬†on Amazon’s side. Some features take an effort to implement, which may be part of it.

As a rule of thumb, indies (independent publishers) are less likely to block or opt out of features than tradpubs (traditional publishers). For one thing, Amazon can (and does) influence indies by requiring certain features to be active in order to get twice the royalty rate (70% versus 35%): tradpub contracts don’t work that way.

Amazon has increasingly become more independent (so the speak) from tradpubs, so I was curious: what is the best selling Kindle book where a feature is not active? My intuition was that a book with¬†TTS being blocked wouldn’t be in the top ten. Now, that doesn’t mean that customers make that specific “A means B” decision…that they won’t buy books where TTS is blocked (although that is my own decision). Amazon’s

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

tend to be at the top of the bestseller list, especially in the first part of the month. Those books will generally have the features Amazon promotes, since they are published by Amazon’s tradpub imprints. They may not say that they are available through

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

but that’s just because they haven’t actually been published yet (that’s part of the attraction of Kindle First). I’m still going to count them as being available through KU…because they will be once they are published (based on past performance).

So, let’s take a look:

Bestselling book over $9.99 (not really a feature, but outside of Amazon’s required price range for the high royalty): #7, James Patterson’s 15th Affair ($14.99)

Bestselling book with TTS blocked: #29, The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson

Bestselling book without X-Ray: #7, James Patterson’s 15th Affair

Bestselling book without Word Wise: #2, The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

Bestselling book without Lending: #1, We’re All Damaged by Matthew Norman

Bestselling book not in Kindle Unlimited: #7, 15th Affair by James Patterson

I’m surprised a bit by lending (that’s different from KU…it’s the one time only loan to someone not on your account) was not available on an Amazon tradpub. I checked some Kindle First books from previous month (in case it’s just not available until the book is actually published), and they also didn’t have it.

Word Wise not being available on an Amazon tradpub was also a bit of a surprise, since that’s inconsistent.

I was pleased with no booking blocking TTS being higher than 29. As regular readers know, I don’t approve of the decision by some publishers to insert code into an e-book file which blocks text-to-speech access. Oh, that might not be the exact mechanism, but they have to make a conscious decision to block TTS on text (books where the dialog appears in graphics, like a graphic novel or an illustrated children’s book, may not be technically accessible to the TTS being used). I think it disproportionately disadvantages the disabled. It used to be that some of the bestselling books routinely blocked TTS: Random House had a policy at one point of blocking it in all e-books…they dropped that a long time back, which I appreciated. I would say that the TTS battle has largely been won.

There you go! I’m curious: do you ever make a decision on whether or not to buy a book based on the presence/non-presence of a specific feature?

Bonus deal: the sale on some Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers) continues, and there is also a Mothers’ Day sale on Fire tablets:

I would expect the Mothers’ Day sales, obviously, to end this week…and for the devices, it could be by Friday or so.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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! :) 

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.

 

AAP-reporting publishers losing children/YA e-book sales: down 43.3% YoY

April 28, 2016

AAP-reporting publishers losing children/YA e-book sales: down 43.3% YoY

I think I’d better first explain the initialisms in the headline.:)

The AAP is the

Association of American Publishers

It gathers statistics from over 1,500 USA publishers, and traditionally, has been considered a good source for information about what is happening with publishing (and by extension, reading) in America.

However, it’s worth noting that I’m not part of it.ūüėČ

I know, I know…you aren’t either, probably. ;)¬†However, I am a publisher, in a very small way…just my own works. Anyone who makes books for the public to purchase is a publisher, and I feel confident in saying that there are over a 150,000 in the USA. That would mean the AAP might have stats from 10% of the publishers…and it could be a lot lower than that.

Anybody who writes a book and puts into the Kindle store using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is a publisher.

Prior to e-books gaining popularity after the introduction of the Kindle in 2007, there was a lot of investment involved in publishing a book. Very few entities had the resources, and the access to distribution (connections with and acceptance by brick-and mortar bookstores for one…I’m a former manager).

E-books can be published and be equally available for purchase by an individual investing no money as by one of the Big 5 publishers.

That means that the AAP may be decreasingly reflective of what people are purchasing and reading.

To be clear, I’m not saying that reduces their relevancy: the most influential and bestselling books still tend to be published by tradpubs (traditional publishers)…it’s just that you can’t consider the AAP’s data now as being a steady state indicator of the popularity of e-books.

I’m setting that up because if it was a constant¬† measure, the stat in the headline might be terrifying if you thought it was reflective of reading overall, and concerning if you thought it reflected e-book adoption.

Children/YA is a segment of books intended for children and “Young Adults”. Many of those books are read by adults…The Hunger Games is a good example.

YoY is short for “Year over Year”: in the case, how did 2015 sales compare to 2014 sales?

According to this

Book Business report

and other sources, overall book sales were down YoY, and trade books (the kind you would have bought in a bookstore…not tetbooks and such) were up slightly.

Reported e-book sales were down, with children’s/YA’s sales down by close to half.

According to a graph in the article, it looks like paperback/mass market book rose more in dollars than e-books dropped.

What’s happening here? Are e-books a failed experiment?

I certainly don’t think so.ūüėČ

My guess is that, especially young adult, e-book sales are market shifting to independent publishers who don’t report…and perhaps more importantly, to subsers (subscription services), including Amazon’s own

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

Certainly, when I was a “young adult”, KU would have been terrific for me. Some YAs are almost obsessive readers…they want to read a lot of books. That doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t get some books outside of KU, but you could read ten books a week at a manageable cost. My record is 3 1/2 novels in a day.ūüėČ

For young children, Amazon continues to improve FreeTime Unlimited. It might not seem like e-books are a good fit for young children, but they can certainly be one element.

I don’t want to take too much away from the Book Business article (I recommend you read it), but I do want to point out one other thing.

Downloaded audiobooks are way up.

While this may be a coincidence, that has tended to be the case since text-to-speech (TTS) was introduced in the Kindle 2.

Publishers blocked TTS access** after influencing Amazon to give them that option…one argument has been, presumably, that the presence of TTS competes with the sale of audiobooks.

I’ve suggested that it may do the opposite…that TTS may accustom people to listening to books, even though the experiences of listening to an audiobook or TTS are quite different.

There may be other factors. I’m sure a lot more people listen to audiobooks because of their inclusion in KU…but I don’t think those listens will count as sales of downloadable audiobooks (although I’m not sure).

Still, I think it’s hard to argue that TTS has significantly hurt audiobook sales.

My intuition is that children and young adults are reading more than they were five years ago…it’s just not being reported to AAP as much.

Bonus note: Amazon financials call is today (4/28) a 5:00 PM Eastern:

Webcast link

I’ll report on that later.

Bonus deal: the Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*)¬†is $5 off (which makes it $34.99 for it without a voice remote, $44.99 with¬†one). Without a voice remote (and using the free app), this is the least expensive way to get the Alexa Voice Service, most associated with the Echo. They are doing this to celebrate 100,000 reviews and it is for a limited time.¬† Makes a great gift…

What do you think? Have e-book sales peaked? Is this one year just a fluke, because there wasn’t a new breakout Young Adult series in 2015? Is there a difference in appropriateness for e-books for Young Adults and children versus adults? What is the role of the AAP in the future? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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! :)

** A Kindle/Fire 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.

Unlocking the universal translator: over 600 Star Trek books go DRM free

March 30, 2016

Unlocking the universal translator: over 600 Star Trek books go DRM free

Star Trek was a TV series.

I say “was” because it became so much more.

There was a coordinated¬†effort to keep Star Trek on the air after the second season, which was successful…even if the uneven quality of the result made “third season” a geek slang term for something that wasn’t very good (“That lunch was really third season”).

Then there was an animated series with many of the original cast returning to voice their roles. There were movies, games, comic books, role-playing games, and, of course, novels.

The novels are important, and were important to other fandoms which followed.

It’s worth noting first that Star Trek was always connected with books. The series had actively sought science fiction authors (Theodore Sturgeon, Richard Matheson…) to contribute scripts. It was seen as unusually cerebral television…perhaps even literary.

While there had been tie-in novels and novelizations before (including¬†an original Star Trek novel for “juveniles” written by Mack Reynolds called Mission to Horatius), James Blish’s Spock Must Die! published in 1970 (after the original series was off the air) brought an official, authorized, new story.

The title may have been “Spock Must Die!” but the message was “Star Trek Won’t Die!”

There would go on to be literally more than 500 official Star Trek novels (and short story collections).

500!

For the vast majority of them (and for decades) they’ve been published by Pocket Books (one of the original paperback companies), which is part of Simon & Schuster.

It even has its own stand-alone website:

http://www.startrekbooks.com/

Many of them are available in the USA Kindle store. A search for

Star Trek published by Pocket (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

gets 696 results at the time of writing.

I’ve been happy to see that the Star Trek novels have been available in the Kindle store.

One of my great disappointments with a publisher, though, has been Pocket/S&S choosing to insert code into the files which blocks text-to-speech (TTS) access.

TTS uses software to read a book out loud to you (I typically use it for a week in the car). It’s something I’ve written about many times before because I believe that blocking it disproportionately disadvantages people with disabilities.

That seems particularly inappropriate with Star Trek books to me. Star Trek (especially in the original series, but beyond that) championed diversity, even if it was imperfect in doing so. The original series made a point about prejudice against those with vision issues (who we would now say are “print disabled” or “print challenged”), and Star Trek: The Next Generation (there are novels from all of the series) had Geordi La Forge, a main character who wore a vision-enabling visor.

A Kindle with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it (including personal documents) unless that access is actively blocked by the publisher.

I was, therefore, very pleased to see that S&S is removing Digital Rights Management (DRM) from the Star Trek books going forward (they show 611 as currently available).

With no DRM, you can convert the file you receive to different formats (so you can buy a book and read it on a NOOK, Kobo, or Kindle, for one thing).

That should also mean that the TTS access is no longer blocked.

It appears that the new files have not yet been uploaded to Amazon, which makes sense. While Amazon doesn’t¬† specifically label books as DRM free or not (something which I think they should do), they do indicate the number of SDL’s (Simultaneous Device Licenses) available for a book.

Unless it says otherwise, the number of devices registered to the same account¬†to which you can download the same compatible book at the same time is six. Some few books have fewer…and some will show as unlimited (books without DRM are unlimited).

Tor went DRM free some time ago, and I said that other publishers would watch carefully to see how that affects sales and rights infringement.

We haven’t heard any horror stories about Tor’s experience with going DRM free.

This is a major move in that direction.

I applaud Simon & Schuster for this decision.

Live long and prosper…

\\//,

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*¬†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‚Äôll 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)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get.¬†:)¬†Shop ‚Äôtil you help!¬†:)¬†By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ 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.¬†

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.

New! Text-to-speech comes to the Echo!

January 9, 2016

New! Text-to-speech comes to the Echo!

This is one of those crossover stories, which belongs both here and in my The Measured Circle blog!

You can now use your

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

to listen to text-to-speech!

This is a huge development for me, and it will be for other people.

People with print disabilities, for example, can use the Echo to read a book…and making the request verbally may be a lot easier than using a tablet. It also means they don’t need to have a tablet.:)

I would expect it to come to the

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

and

Fire TV Stick (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

soon (it wasn’t there right now)…meaning that a print disabled ¬†person could have a TTS device for under $50.

It’s very simple. Just say, “Alexa, read The War of the Worlds” or whatever book is in your Cloud which has not had text-to-speech access blocked by the publisher (and has text…graphic novels usually aren’t accessible to TTS even if the publisher doesn’t take an action to block it).

It also means that kids can have Alexa read to them…no, I don’t think that’s the same as a loving adult reading to them, but it could still be good developmentally, and might really help with kids with certain learning disabilities as they sight-read and listen at the same time.

You can tell which books you have with TTS available by going to the Alexa app and going to

Home – Menu (three horizontal lines) – Kindle Books

You can see more details in my post in The Measured Circle:

New to Alexa/the Echo: movie times and making phone calls…and text-to-speech!

Enjoy!

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! :) 

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.

The Joy of Text…to speech, that is

October 8, 2015

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!ūüėČ

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.ūüėČ

Mentally, though?

I look forward to a long commute.

Why?

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‚Ä≥ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB ‚Äď 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.ūüėČ

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‚Äôll 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)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get.¬†:)¬†Shop ‚Äôtil you help!¬†:)¬†By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ 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.

My sibling’s new book: We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics

October 4, 2015

My sibling’s new book: We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics

My sibling, Scott Calvin, has a new book out today in the USA Kindle store!

We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics

It uses cartoon characters to explain physics (Scott is a physics professor at Sarah Lawrence).

It’s only $3, and even better, it’s part of

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

so members can borrow it at no additional cost.

It’s too soon for there to be any reviews, and as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to review my own family’s books for you.:)

One important point:

Regular readers will know that I don’t knowingly link to books where text-to-speech access has been blocked.

They may be surprised to see that the Amazon product page says that this book is “not enabled”.

That’s come up with other books in the blog. It’s not that text-to-speech has been blocked in this case: it’s that the words aren’t accessible to the program because they are part of the illustrations.

The text-to-speech software that our Fire tablets (and older EBRs…E-Book Readers) with text-to-speech capability use needs to be able to read the text. It has to be text: not in an illustration.

I know in this case that Scott’s publisher did not block it…it’s just a technical thing.

That’s why it is concerning that Amazon puts this on the product page:

“The publisher has requested not to enable Text-to-Speech for this title.”

I believe that is inaccurate in this case.

My guess is that that explanation appears on every book’s product page when it says that text-to-speech is “not enabled”.

I suggested to Scott that Amazon be contacted, and a request be made to have that language removed.

I’ve found Amazon to be pretty responsive in the past…I hope this is something that they can change in this case and others where it would be appropriate.

I’d be interested in hearing what you think about the book, and I’m sure Scott would appreciate that as well. You can do that by making a comment on this post, and/or leaving a review at Amazon/Goodreads.

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! :) 

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.

 

My justification to an author for unblocking text-to-speech

July 28, 2015

My justification to an author for unblocking text-to-speech

Regular readers know that I don’t buy books where the publisher has blocked text-to-speech (TTS) access.

I’ve talked a lot about the issue, and I know some people have probably heard enough.:)

I did want to share something with you, though.

There is a new book coming out which I would like to read…it’s by an actor and writer whose work I have really enjoyed.

When I saw that¬†TTS was blocked, I could have just said, “Oh, well.”

Instead, I wrote to the author.

I’ve had some success in writing to publishers and authors before…years ago, I wrote to the publisher of

The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

to suggest they make an e-book edition (this was in the very years). I certainly got the impression, based on our correspondence, that my e-mail had an influence.

I’ve also sent publishers proofreading notes, and been assured that at least some of my suggestions would be used when the book was updated.

I don’t think that any of this is because I’m a blogger…I’m hardly famous.:) I say that just to suggest to you that communicating with publishers and authors can work…although I don’t know if it will in this case, yet.:)

I’m always careful to be respectful, and not critical…of course, that’s me in real life, too (except when I’m just with my Significant Other making fun of things on TV).ūüėČ

So, I had first written a short comment…in private. I don’t want to call people out in public on this (I’ll be disguising identifying information below). I don’t think that’s helpful.

I heard something back from a representative, saying they had checked with the publisher, and that there was going to be something better than TTS: an audiobook.

The representative also nicely asked me to let them know if the audiobook “…doesn’t provide the options necessary to address any disabilities for our readers”.

I put quite a bit of work into my reply, and I wanted to share it with you:

Thanks so much for replying, and for looking into the issue with [the publisher].

I’m sure the audiobook will be a lot of fun! I would expect [the author’s]¬†performance, being both an actor and the author, to add another dimension to¬†[the book].

That’s what an audiobook, such as [the publisher]¬†is describing is: a performance. Listening to a great audiobook is like going to see a movie. It’s not just a way to access the book, it’s another piece of art.

Text-to-speech is very different. It’s just a way to get to the words in the book. It’s much more akin to having a large print book than it is to seeing a movie.

There are three basic audio “channels” for a book to get to readers:

1. An audiobook. This is a recorded performance, and people use this for a different type of experience. They expect to pay separately for it, just like they would for a movie based on the book. They would purchase this from a store (such as Amazon). The author would get a royalty or other arrangements would be made for compensation, if the book is still under copyright protection

2. An audio version produced especially for people who can certify a disability. Thanks to an amendment to U.S. copyright law in 1996, these can be produced without first getting a license from the rightsholder. These can only be created by “authorized entities” and are produced in specialized formats that often require special equipment to hear. It might be made available for free. The book may be read by a volunteer, or produced by software. It is typically not a performance by a professional. The disabled would get this from an organization like https://www.bookshare.org/cms (after certifying the disability)

3. Text-to-speech (TTS): this is software (created from a person’s voice) which, in a streaming manner (not recorded), reads a book out loud. It does not interpret the text, and is not created individually for each book. License is not required to be purchased to make this available. As I understand it, publishers can legally block TTS access, as long as an accessible version of the book is available to those who qualify as disabled. Nothing needs to be done to prepare a book for TTS: a Kindle Fire with TTS can read personal documents out loud, for example. A publisher has to make an effort to block the access. Once a reader has a device with TTS, there is no additional cost to access the book in that way, and the author does not get an additional royalty

To answer your question about the needs of the disabled: certifying a disability is not an easy thing for everyone to do. Books under that structure are not always made available in a timely fashion.

However, the broader group affected by the lack of TTS is made up of those people who have print challenges which do not rise to the legal level of a disability. That might be a vision issue, but it could also be another medical issue (such as the ability to hold a paper book and turn the pages).

A group called the Reading Rights Organization, an umbrella organization which included: the American Council of the Blind; American Foundation for the Blind; Lighthouse International; National Federation of the Blind; and many other non-profits, protested publishers blocking text-to-speech…at the same time that the “specialized editions” were available.

There are also people who simply want to use text-to-speech when driving or exercising (to name two circumstances). They would not necessarily buy an audiobook: they intend to mostly sight-read the book, but don’t want to lose the opportunity to enjoy it when sight reading is impractical.

The suggestion has been made that unblocked TTS may reduce audiobook sales, and that may have been [the publisher]’s thought. However, since TTS has been widely available (when the Kindle 2 was released in 2009), downloadable audiobook sales have greatly increased. They have doubled in England since 2011:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/11571627/Audiobook-sales-double-in-five-years-thanks-to-downloads-and-famous-faces.html

The Association of American Publishers (AAP), the leading industry group, had this to say about downloaded audiobooks in 2014:

“Though this category is relatively small (48 million units) compared to downloaded eBooks (510 million units), downloaded audio continued its multiyear growth track. The category hit record growth in both units (27.0%) and revenue (26.8%) over 2013.”

http://publishers.org/news/us-publishing-industry%E2%80%99s-annual-survey-reveals-28-billion-revenue-2014

That doesn’t seem to show much of a negative impact from TTS.

Finally, the top Audible audiobooks in Amazon’s “Featured” listing have both audiobooks and unblocked TTS access:

  1. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (Audible book narrated by Reese Witherspoon)
  2. Grey by E L James (Audible book narrated by Zachary Webber)
  3. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (Audible book narrated by Clare Corbett,, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher)

It’s worth noting that there are people (including me) who will not buy books with TTS blocked. That is probably not a large group, but my guess is that some of them are influencers.

Again, I want to thank you for your conscientious effort to understand this issue more fully. I do hope that the decision is made to remove the block to TTS access on [the author]’s¬†book…I would really like to read it and promote it to my readers.

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask. Regardless, I wish [the author] success with the book and her other future endeavors.

I’ll keep you informed. If TTS is unblocked on this book, I’ll definitely link to it for you!

One unrelated point: I’ve decided to move most of my coverage of the

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

to another blog of mine

The Measured Circle

There’s just a lot to say about it, ¬†and there will be a lot more the rest of this year. It doesn’t really fit the main thrust of this blog (e-books and devices which display e-books). I know some of you care about the Echo here, too, so I will provide links to The Measured Circle’s coverage. ¬†I’ll just mention one thing: I recently started a hashtag: #TeachAlexa, for people (including me) to use to suggest things that the Echo could “learn”. I just started it this weekend, and there are already close 40,000 impressions. I’ve got a lot to build over at TMC for the Echo, but I think this is going to work the best.

Update: just to clarify, based on a couple of comments from some of my most loyal commenters and readers.:) You will not need to start reading The Measured Circle to find out about my Echo coverage if you are an ILMK reader. I’ll link here…if you do want to read about the Echo, it will just be a click to get there. I actually considered doing a poll on moving it…but I want to try it this way. I may do a poll later to see how people think it is working, but I have a lot more room over there to set up reference pages and posts. I appreciate the comments so far!

What do you think? Are you okay with my Echo arrangement? Is TTS an issue for you? Did you think I made a good case for not blocking it? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

*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! :) 

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.

 

On listening to text-to-speech in 2015

March 26, 2015

On listening to text-to-speech in 2015

Starting with the Kindle 2, Amazon provided text-to-speech with their EBRs (E-Book Readers).

Text-to-speech is software which reads a book out loud to you.

It’s very different from an audiobook, which has been recorded.

That matters, because creating an audiobook clearly falls under the rights of the rightsholder of the book (initially, the author), while text-to-speech is more like increasing the font size…it’s just a way to access the material, without creating another copy (since TTS is “streaming”, ephemeral).

Ever since the K2, I have listened to TTS typically for hours a week in the car.

It’s my preferred audio in the car…I like it a lot better than talk radio, or music. I’m also not a fan of audiobooks, unless I’ve already read the book. I don’t like the reader (be it the author or an actor) interpreting the characters for me.

TTS has improved a lot since the K2!

I created a thread in the Amazon Kindle forum (six years ago today!) pointing out some of the

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

That’s what I called the quirky things about the voice, which was then known as “Tom”.

Almost all of those are fixed now.

Ivona, which we have now, has inflection. For example, it uses the appropriate rising inflection to indicate a question.

You can read more about the process of how it’s done in this

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

It almost always pronounces things correctly, now.

One problem it still has is with homographs (words that are spelled the same but mean different things). For example, I was listening today, and a character left the room with a bow. You know that should rhyme with “now”, but the TTS read it as rhyming like “know”. In other words, it sounded like the person left with a package decoration, rather than inclining at the waist.

I find it also misses on “wind”. A road might be “winding”, not rhyming with “finding”, but sounding like it is blowing a breath.

One more I hear quite a bit: it makes the wrong choice on “wound”. It generally pronounces it like the injury, rather than rhyming it with “found”. So, saying that a scarf was wrapped around someone may make it sound like it took a bite out of them.ūüėČ

One other odd one: it pronounces “lower” to rhyme with “flower”, not “grower”. Of course, try to explain to a non-English speaker how we pronounce “flower grower”, and make English sound logical!

However, it’s generally very impressive.

In a book I’m reading now, for example, it correctly pronounced Edinburgh…not ending like Pittsburgh, but ending in two syllables, ¬†sort of like a New York borough, but softer.

This book is

The Winter Sea (at AmazonSmile*)

which was recommended to me by one of my regular readers and commenters, Lady Galaxy.

It’s part of

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

and I was ready to start another book, so I’m reading it now.:)

I am typically reading several books at the same time, which is true in this case, but I also usually have a main one for the commute…and I moved this one up in the list.

One interesting point is that there is a lot of dialect in the book, as Lady Galaxy pointed out to me.

I don’t at all know if it’s accurate, but it’s intended to represent a particular Scotch dialect.

For example, here are a couple of lines:

“It winna dee ye ony good, it disna ring. The salt fae the sea ruins the wiring, fast as I fix it.”

Without that dialect (and it refers to a doorbell), it would read, “It wouldn’t do you any good, it doesn’t ring. The salt from the sea ruins the wiring…”

How did TTS handle it?

About the same way most people would, I’d say. I didn’t have any more trouble understanding TTS speaking it than I would have sight reading it, I believe.

That also impresses me.

However, in

Spinster’s Gambit (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

it was quite baffled by a person’s name, “Jacoline”. English speaking people would read that as very much like¬†Jacqueline, or Jacklyn…it read it more like it, “Jack OH lyn”, something like that.

Generally, though, I think most people are surprised at how good it is.

Our devices are becoming much more conversational, both in how they speak and how they listen.

I am disappointed, honestly, that the currently available non-Fire EBRs from Amazon don’t have sound at all…which means they don’t do TTS (or music or audiobooks).

I’m guessing it makes them cheaper and more reliable, and perhaps lighter. It’s possible that some people even told Amazon they preferred it, because they found music a distraction…don’t know about that.

I’m listening to TTS on my

Kindle Fire HDX 7″ (at AmazonSmile*)

which is also why it can use the text-to-speech software it uses.

Eventually, I think we will get a non-backlit EBR with TTS again.

After all, everything may start speaking. It may be like the toaster on Red Dwarf, or the talking bomb in the now obscure John Carpenter movie,

Dark Star (at AmazonSmile*)

It seems unlikely to me that my toothbrush will talk to me, but my books won’t.ūüėČ

What do you think? Do you use TTS? How do you feel about the Voyage, for example, not having it? Does it throw you off when it mispronounces something, or are you able to let it go? Does it affect your understanding? My guess is that I’m unusually well able to cope with the mispronunciations, but I haven’t seen studies. Feel free to tell me and my readers 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! :) 

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.

The best book I’m not reading

January 5, 2015

The best book I’m not reading

Last year, my Significant Other and I read a book that we both really liked.

That’s somewhat unusual.:)

We often both enjoy the same¬†book, but this is one that really stood out as special…again, to both of us.

I was all ready to enthusiastically recommend it to you, when I noticed something had happened.

When we got the book, text-to-speech access had not been blocked by the publisher.

My regular readers are familiar with this issue, and how I feel about it, but I think it’s worth explaining.

Starting with the Kindle 2, Amazon put text-to-speech software on Kindles (which have audio at all).

That is software which reads an e-book out loud to you. It’s not a recorded performance, like an audiobook. It’s another means of accessing the material, like increasing the text size.

That software works with any text downloaded to the Kindle. The text does not need to be prepared: you can use it with personal documents, for example, and I’ve certainly done that.

If a publisher does nothing, text-to-speech access is available.

Some publishers choose to insert code into the file which blocks the text-to-speech software from providing access to the book in that manner.

To be clear: the publisher has to take a conscious step to make text-to-speech not work. The default position is that it works.

It is generally only the largest publishers which make that choice, and they don’t do it on all of their books (Random House used to say they blocked it on all books, but they reversed that policy).

Amazon discourages blocking: if an independent publisher using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing blocks text-to-speech, it disqualifies them from being able to get a higher royalty…they are limited to 35% instead of 70%.

However, Amazon can not prevent traditional publishers from blocking it.

Amazon does indicate if it is blocked or not on the book’s Amazon product page, although they use the language that the book is either “enabled” or “not enabled” for text-to-speech. I think that’s misleading: it’s either “blocked” or “not blocked”…nothing needs to be done to enable it. There are some books where the “text” isn’t really text, but is part of an image (graphic novels, typically). The software can’t access it then: I’d prefer the language, “blocked”, “not blocked” (or “available”, perhaps), and “unavailable”.

While I don’t need text-to-speech myself, I use it, usually for hours a week in the car. I like to say that it has changed driving time from “wasted non-reading time”.:) I go through books much more quickly that way, which would seem to me to be an advantage to publishers.

I don’t purchase books with text-to-speech blocked, but that’s not so much for my own use of it. It’s because I don’t approve of the publisher blocking TTS, and I don’t want to give them money on a book where they have done so.

Similarly, I don’t knowingly link to books which block text-to-speech, since I don’t want to benefit from that link, either.

I do this because I feel that it disproportionately disadvantages the disabled.

Yes, some books are available for those with a certified print disability (sometimes for free). In fact, my reading of U.S. copyright law (and I’m not a lawyer, just an interested layperson) is that the publisher can only block the access if there is an accessible version available to those with certified disabilities.

It is, still, inconvenient. Accessible copies through those programs are not always available when the book is first published. They can’t always be read on an easily mobile device, like a Kindle. They can’t be shared with other family members as a book from the Kindle store can. They don’t always have the same services available (like Whispersync, letting you continue where you were as you move from device to device) that the Kindle store has.

It also has a negative impact on those who can’t prove a disability, or who have a print challenge which does not rise to the level of a legal disability.

I did e-mail the author about the first book, and I have contacted the publisher (Simon and Schuster) as well. This is what I wrote to the latter:

My Significant Other and I greatly enjoyed The Rosie Project as a Kindle store book.

I am also a blogger with one of the most popular blogs of any kind in the USA Kindle store.

I was about to recommend the first book to my readers, when text-to-speech access was blocked (subsequent to our original purchase). I do not recommend books when the publisher has made that decision.

We were quite disappointed to see that the new book (The Rosie Effect) also has that access blocked. As a result, we will not be reading the book while that is the case.

I feel strongly enough about how good the first book was that I am writing a post on the topic, to explain the situation to my readers.

Please reconsider the decision to block text-to-speech access. I believe it limits the access to people who would otherwise happily purchase a copy.

Please feel free to contact me for more information, if you like.

I also need to be clear: I completely understand why someone would go ahead and purchase the book. I do not hold it against people who do so, and I am not saying you should follow what I do here. I simply want to inform you so you can make a decision about it knowing more of the background. For more general information on blocking text-to-speech, you may find this earlier post interesting:

The Disabled Deserve to Read

which I allow to be distributed freely for non-commercial purposes.

The first book was The Rosie Project. As I mentioned, when we bought the book, text-to-speech access was not blocked. Even though it was blocked later, our version still has it. The new book is The Rosie Effect.

If you feel similarly about it, you might want to let the publisher know. This is the Simon and Schuster contact page:

http://www.simonandschuster.com/about/contact_us

While an author can influence (typically through an agent) whether or not a book has the access blocked, it is an action the publisher takes. I did inform the author on the first book, so I assume they are aware of it. Therefore, I’m not providing a direct way to contact the author in this post.

What do you think? Does whether or not text-to-speech is blocked affect your decision to buy a book? Do you need it yourself? If you are print disabled, do you ever use the Kindle’s (including the Fire’s) text-to-speech rather than your normal screen reader? What’s the experience like¬†getting accessible books through special agencies? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. 


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