Earlier this week, the Amazon.com Kindle 2 started shipping. The Kindle 2 has more space to hold more books than the original and even contains a feature called text-to-speech. A robotic computer voice even reads the book for you if you like.
The Authors Guild, a group that represents 9,000 book authors apparently criticized Amazon for having this feature. Amazon wrote a press release saying that the feature is legal, but decided to give the copyright owners the option to choose whether to allow the ebook to have Text-to-speech built-in. Amazon pretty much did this as a concession, but they didn’t have to do it.
Below is the full press release:
Statement from Amazon.com Regarding Kindle 2’s Experimental Text-to-Speech Feature
SEATTLE, Feb 27, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Kindle 2’s experimental text-to-speech feature is legal: no copy is made, no derivative work is created, and no performance is being given. Furthermore, we ourselves are a major participant in the professionally narrated audiobooks business through our subsidiaries Audible and Brilliance. We believe text-to-speech will introduce new customers to the convenience of listening to books and thereby grow the professionally narrated audiobooks business.Nevertheless, we strongly believe many rightsholders will be more comfortable with the text-to-speech feature if they are in the driver’s seat.
Therefore, we are modifying our systems so that rightsholders can decide on a title by title basis whether they want text-to-speech enabled or disabled for any particular title. We have already begun to work on the technical changes required to give authors and publishers that choice. With this new level of control, publishers and authors will be able to decide for themselves whether it is in their commercial interests to leave text-to-speech enabled. We believe many will decide that it is.
Customers tell us that with Kindle, they read more, and buy more books. We are passionate about bringing the benefits of modern technology to long-form reading.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel; Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial.
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SOURCE: Amazon.comAmazon.com, Inc. Amazon Media Hotline, 206-266-7180