Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kindle for the Blind?

This isn't a mystery: I will never, ever own a Kindle. I view the Kindle as one of the clearest signs of the impending apocalypse. But I have read in a few places (including the Publisher’s Weekly newsletter from April 7th) about the debate regarding the Kindle’s text-to-speech function—and I take a perverse pleasure in seeing Amazon’s devil tool in a bit of controversy. At issue is the Kindle’s innate ability to read the text displayed on the screen. Why is this a big deal? Because if people can hear the books read to them on the Kindle, the thinking goes, then people won’t buy audiobooks. Fewer people buying audiobooks means fewer dollars in the bank. The Authors Guild is the group not happy about the audio function, and justifiably, the National Federation of the Blind are on the side of the text-to-speak ability. Personally, I see both sides of the argument, but I tend to side with the consumer in matters such as these. But as long as the Kindle is in the middle of any sort of mess, I’m happy.

No comments: