As you know I'm in the process of finishing up a thorough review of the new Kindle2 and one of the new features I'll be talking about is the text-to-speech capability. Well today, Amazon announced that it will let publishers decide whether their individual books will have that text-to-speech feature on a given book to appease the authors guild.
HOW DOES THE KINDLE 2 TEXT-TO-SPEECH WORK?
This text-to-speech feature allows Kindle2 owners to take any book, magazine or newspaper and have it "read to them" in a male or female computerized voice. If you're not familiar with this feature, give this post a quick read as it has two videos demonstrating the male and female voice the Kindle2 has using this text-to-speech reader.
AUTHORS GUILD IS NUTS - IT'S NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR AUDIOBOOKS
As I mentioned in that post, the feature is definitely NOT a replacement for audiobooks. While the technology is very good, it's not good enough for me to listen to a book for very long - it's just too much like a GPS or weather radio. But it is nice to have as a feature for newspapers or magazines during a drive or even for a book if you're nearly finished with a book for instance and have a short drive where you "have to" listen to the last few pages of that book. I like having it as an option, but would still pay for an audiobook for a complete listen.
Unfortunately, the authors guild felt threatened by this technology fearing it would hurt sales of audiobooks. Since Amazon doesn't want to tick off the authors or publishers, they caved. Unfortunate, in my opinion but hopefully the publishers will "see the light" and leave that feature in on most books.