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What Gives Publishers the Right To Turn Off Kindle Text To Speech

Updated on January 26, 2016

What Gives Certain Publishers the Right To Turn Off Kindle Text To Speech

In 2009 Amazon adjusted the Kindle E-reader and the Kindle Fires giving Publishers the ability to turn off the Text To Speech. This was done because the Authors Guild said that the kindles ability to read text aloud infringed on copyright. What is truly interesting about this situation is a Publisher can start this process even after you have purchased the book.

Text to Speech for Kindle is a great feature. You can listen to your books instead of manually reading. The voice is not perfect and does not sound as good as an audio book but it sounds okay. There is a big difference between a text to speech computer voice and an audio book so I honestly don’t see how the Authors Guild could call this copyright infringement.

A few years ago I paid 12.99 for a new Stephen King book and last week I downloaded it from the cloud to re-read and I was certainly outraged when I tried to turn on my Text To Speech to listen to the book but it would not work. I guess I missed all the uproar back in 2009 since I was not using Text To Speech as much as I do now.

I do want to clarify that there is only a few select Publishers who use this technology with Random House leading the pack. I do not blame Amazon because I believe they were pressured into this situation. From what little information I could find on this subject Amazon now lets you know before you buy a book if you can use Text To Speech.

I guess the Authors Guild has gotten away with this farce because now in 2016 the Publishers still have control over several books I personally own. I bought the books they belong to me so I believe I should be able to use my Text To Speech to read the book. I believe these Publishers should stop and think about how much money they are losing. I will not buy a book from any publisher that disables the Text To Speech feature.


Tara Summers

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