New website is under construction.

Apr 8, 2009

Blind Picket Author's Guild

Here's another view of the Author's Guild dispute with the Kindle.

The National Federation of the Blind's Imbroglio with the Author's Guild and their distaste for the Kindle 2's text-to-speech function is heating up. Today they took it to the Guild's own doorstep here in NYC.

Basically the story is this: the Author's Guild raised issue with the Kindle 2's new robotic text-to-speech feature, which can read any Kindle book aloud in a synthesized voice—naturally, a feature that would be an absolute delight for the vision impaired. The Author's Guild, however, saw things differently, stating that eBooks are not sold with "performance" rights and that the Kindle's read-aloud feature would cut into the sales of audio books. And last month, Amazon caved to the Guild, giving individual publishers the ability to disable the text-to-speech reader for specific books.

...We're all about getting people paid for their work, but to cite lost royalties and audio book revenues as the main reason to deprive the blind community from the full Kindle archive —which, if you remember, Jeff Bezos hopes will soon include every book ever published—seems kind of ridiculous.

It's my personal opinion the Author's Guild is wrong on this -- for a number of reasons, though this is one of the more poignant. I say that as someone who would like someday to earn money from selling audio books.

1 comment:

Mark Lord said...

I agree, it is ridiculous to ask Amazon to disable this feature! Most people won't want to listen to a robotic voice unless they have to.