Update on Kindle 2’s Read-Aloud Feature

A couple weeks ago I wrote about Amazon’s latest electronic reader, the Kindle 2’s ability to read text aloud.

In a surprise back-pedal from Amazon, they will now allow the holders of the copyrights to decide whether or not to disable the Kindle’s ability to translate text to speech for their works:

Amazon said it is making modifications to allow those holding rights to written works to decide on a title-by-title basis whether to allow Kindle 2 devices to read passages aloud using text recognition software.

“We have already begun to work on the technical changes required to give authors and publishers that choice,” Amazon said in the written release.

“With this new level of control, publishers and authors will be able to decide for themselves whether it is in their commercial interests to leave text-to-speech enabled. We believe many will decide that it is.”

Sounds like the Authors Guild has more clout than I’d realized if the threat of a lawsuit from them got Amazon to back down, and fairly quickly. Good to know.

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