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What happened to Text to Speech???

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Showing 1-25 of 191 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 6, 2012 1:50:45 PM PDT
A. Toomey says:
Ok, I was upset when my Kindle Fire did not have text-to-speech capabilities. I admit it. Particularly when I found that almost all of the discussion boards on here were full of people saying that those of us who complained were idiots for not looking. Personally I still maintain that looking for a feature that (at the time) EVERY other "lower end" Kindle device had is like having to check the sales description on a Ferrari (or any other luxury car) and make sure that it has automatic windows. Anyway, that is in the past. Now we're getting the news brief on the next generation of Kindles and Fires.

This time I looked. Once again the Kindle descriptions don't indicate whether there is text to speech or not. However, a careful reader will find that the new Kindles no longer have speakers (and thus no text-to-speech). The new Fire page states nothing about text-to-speech, so I must assume that it also still does not have text-to-speech capabilities. Thus leaving the only Kindle currently being sold through Amazon with such capabilities the OLD generation Kindle Keyboard style. (Which I have to assume is going to end up discontinued at some point soon given its age.)

Considering that Amazon had to fight (and win) the legal issues over text-to-speech in the first place I find myself amazed that they have chosen to - apparently - scrap the whole feature. What happened, Amazon? Why did you decide this wasn't a worthy feature? Was there a customer survey that I missed where you asked how many people used this feature? Is it too costly? (Because I'd have gladly paid, within reason, for an app on my Fire if I'd had that choice.) Do you simply not want to fight with the legal issues any more? Please explain this to me.

Is there anyone else out there who would very much like to see this feature make a comeback?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 2:02:36 PM PDT
Mamaw Dawn says:
no Text-to-speech would be a deal breaker for me

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 2:08:52 PM PDT
A. Tinker says:
No text to speech IS a dealbreaker for me. The members of my family who are strong auditory learners definitely use this feature frequently and that is part of the reason we have the Kindle w/ keyboard. I've been waiting for the new Fire just to see if it has Text to Speech.

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 2:09:26 PM PDT
Tanya says:
I have written to Amazon asking for it to be in future Kindle Fires as it was not in the first gen. My daughter is dyslexic and I used to let her follow along as the book was read to her. It's a great and valuable feature and I hope to hear that is part of the new Fires or will be out in some update for them.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 2:12:24 PM PDT
Beth Sexton says:
Good catch. The paperwhites do not show speakers so in addition to no TTS that means no mp3s or audiobooks.

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 2:13:36 PM PDT
Dean R says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 2:15:06 PM PDT
jsh1120 says:
The new Kindles do NOT have text-to-speech. Nor is it likely that any models in the future will have the feature. Instead, Amazon is pushing AudioBooks and a feature on the new Kindles that enables an Audiobook to be synchronized with a text version so that the text can be read aloud.

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 2:15:40 PM PDT
Nobody says:
I initially ordered both the 8.9" Fire and the Paperwhite Kindle, but upon reflection I decided the lack of text to speech is a deal breaker for me, too. I just now cancelled my order for both.

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 2:16:33 PM PDT
I'm glad I got a Kindle before TTS was removed. I'd like to see TTS live on and be improved on.

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 2:21:33 PM PDT
Mom of 2 says:
i am SHOCKED that none of the new Kindles have TTS. i use it all the time during my commute, and i know others who heavily rely upon it as well. it is such a disservice to customers by no longer including that feature. here's to hoping that my K2 doesn't up and die on me! yikes!

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 2:23:43 PM PDT
T. McPherson says:
I will probably hang on to my Kindle 2 just because of the TTS feature, but I use it for a specific purpose - in the car to review literature I have already read before I teach it, so I can refresh myself on the details. However, I would never use it for something new since it is so poorly pronounced and stressed. I can definitely see the loss for actual audiobooks, but a much smaller and more portable music player will do that. I can only guess that Amazon's research showed that it was an underutilized feature for the most part.

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 2:25:31 PM PDT
I seem to have heard that the new Fires will have TTS. Would have to double-check though.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 2:27:09 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Sep 6, 2012 2:29:47 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 2:27:16 PM PDT
reader says:
No audiobooks? That's a deal breaker. I can live without the mp3 (now I can go back to iTunes for music -you lose, Amazon!) I never cared about text to speech, although after reading this forum I see it's benefits. But my $300 iPod has great capacity- but no audiobooks and Audio books drain my iPhone dry. I liked the feature; almost pre-ordered and then saw this forum. Thanks to whoever caught that little, hidden, point.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 2:28:34 PM PDT
A. Toomey says:
How can an AudioBook be played on a Kindle that has no speakers?

As for a feature on the Kindle (I assume you mean Fire 2) that syncs AudioBooks to the text copy? Well, that's not a very good business decision because most people won't buy into it. That would require that I first pay for the print version (let's say $15 for a new best seller) and then buy the Audio version (let's say $40), that's costing me $55 per book (and that's being generous with low prices).

On the other hand, if I can buy that $15 book for myself or my child and use text to speech, I'm more likely to buy it. For that matter I'm more likely to buy additional books because I feel as though they are cheaper.

If you've got the numbers that show that the text-to-speech has cut down on either book or audiobook sales I'd love to see them. But I don't think that is the case because people who want the AudioBooks will still buy them, but people with reading difficulties who don't want to spend the extra money for an AudioBook might just buy the Kindle version with text-to-speech. Amazon makes their money on having large numbers of low profit transactions the same way Walmart does. If they start pushing for higher profit transactions then they will, I would assume, lose money as people start going to their competitors.

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 2:35:07 PM PDT
Robin C says:
I love the TTS feature and would ONLY buy a Fire if it was an included feature. The other features are great but as an avid book reader sometimes my eyes just give up on me and the only way I can enjoy my books is through TTS so it is vital to me. Please include it for those of us who actually need it.

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 2:39:58 PM PDT
bandit says:
No TTS leaves my family from purchasing the new kindles. Since my mother stroke, she uses TTS to assist her with reading.

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 2:42:56 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 6, 2012 2:48:19 PM PDT
Falidus says:
The text to speech was in experimental phase. Reason it was being removed it because all the audio book people and authors said it look away from the audio book sales. This was a avid disccussion with the 2nd gen kindle.

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 2:47:03 PM PDT
Ryan B. says:
I was super excited to see these. My first thought: Great I'll buy the paperwhite, and give my dx to my mom or sister. As somebody who has a mild visual disability, I rely on the TTS a fair amount even though the TTS seems from the mid-90's. Somewhat feel discriminated against, but hey thanks for saving me $180.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 2:50:00 PM PDT
Ryan B. says:
Any links to that?
Human voice versus a robotic voice from the mid-90s, oh the decisions.

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 2:51:36 PM PDT
A. Toomey says:
@Falidus, I'd like to see the numbers on that. More specifically I'd like to see the effect on regular sales and on audiobooks combined -- because the publishers get paid for both so it's not fair to only talk about one.

I for one am highly unlikely to purchased an AudioBook from Amazon (or Audible, whatever) to start with because they're insanely expensive; so mostly the only ones I listen to are from the library and on the rare occasion that they are on sale at a deep discount at the local bookstore I might purchase one. I do purchase regular books on a regular basis, however, as I get finished with them. By allowing me text-to-speech so that I can listen in my car/on walks I finish books faster and thus buy more books in the long run than I would have purchased if I didn't have text-to-speech. I imagine that some of the other users like the woman above whose daughter is dyslexic also purchase more books when that option is available.

With this in mind, I think they'd have to do an analysis not only of AudioBook sales, but of Book sales as a whole to determine the effect of text-to-speech.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 2:51:55 PM PDT
King Al says:
I'm don't think that's the reason why it was removed, but what he said is true. The Authors' Guild has come out very strongly against TTS.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 2:55:54 PM PDT
Wayne says:
I looked at a Kindle book on Amazon I already own and saw that it had a special note now displayed telling me that I was entitled to purchase the audible version at a special discount for $3.95 (list price $27.00--although I think Amazon usually would sell it at $16.95). Whispersync syncs the two versions apparently so you can pick up where you left off say if you are commuting and listening and want to resume reading the book at home. Also, it isn't as if other things were not added in place of tts. There is the new paperwhite lighting system that uses up some of the power that would have been allocated for audio and panel view is supposed to be supported now so you can read comics. Also there are new fonts being offered and a new technology that lets you know an estimate of how many more minutes you will probably have to go until you get to the end of the chapter.

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 2:57:17 PM PDT
Falidus says:
I really liked the TTS feature on the kindle. But like King said, the Author's Guild was very agaist TTS feature. They started disabling it for certain books and kept in on for some.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 2:58:56 PM PDT
A. Toomey says:
@King, That doesn't surprise me since they have since it began. I just don't understand why Amazon gave in rather than make the case that because more of their books are being sold (albeit not at the higher audible price) they are still receiving money for them, and they are getting their name out there to more readers. I really don't see very many people buying *both* the audio and the physical books and those who do I imagine still do. So the authors aren't losing much if anything. At most the publishers/voice actors who read the books are (which granted is often the author). Although admittedly I'm unfamiliar with the details and maybe they get higher royalties off of audio books.

I would think that this option would be even better for the smallest and less well known authors because they are the least likely to have audible options for their books, yet they can get readers on Amazon because their books are cheap (I read a lot of the <$5 books).
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  84
Total posts:  191
Initial post:  Sep 6, 2012
Latest post:  Sep 4, 2014

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