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Member since: Feb 28th, 2009

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Amazon agrees to cripple Kindle 2 (Download Squad)

Feb 28th 2009 6:54PM How strange. I HAVE seen at least one comment, if not more, in every commentary thread I have yet seen devoted to this topic pointing out that, auctorial rights and money aside, this is a great tool for the visually impaired (or the otherwise impaired, really: imagine if it hurts to hold up the book, hurts to turn the pages, hurts to sit up, etc.). People keep mentioning it. And nobody listens.

So it's been mentioned. As to why you haven't seen it, well, that's your little red wagon.

This is silly. I don't care much for Amazon.com (I didn't appreciate some of their attitudes toward books and small publishers as Kindle 1 was coming out), so it takes a thoroughly moronic debate for me to be siding with them. But they should have left it in. It's a non-issue. It's even lower than a non-issue. An audio book and text-to-speech are two completely separate creatures, with two completely separate uses. To lump them together and then remove one...it boggles the mind.

That said, Amazon's been shrewd about this, leaving it open to the publishers and the individual authors. There have been authors online (Neil Gaiman, for one, Wil Wheaton, for two) scoffing at this non-issue. So presumably THEY will allow text-to-speech. The publishing houses haven't been complaining about this. So who knows, over the thrashing of the Author's Guild, some big publisher like Harper might just allow all their books to have the feature anyway.

We'll see, in the coming weeks, how much this is actually an issue or not. I'm betting not. And I wish someone would give the Author's Guild President a good talking-to before letting him out in public.