The new Kindle can read books for you

February 11, 2009

Posted by Nick Sarno


The new Kindle (or Kindle 2, for those of you keeping track) is pretty much the old Kindle, with a few new features: it’s smaller, it features a five-way navigation element, has faster wireless service, and can now synch between Kindles and cellphones. (Despite the changes, Amazon assures us that “the Kindle 2 is just as ugly as the old one…if anything, the smaller size makes it look even more like your old TI-86.”)


There is a new feature raising concern among some publishers and agents: the device has the ability to read the book aloud with a computer generated voice. 


“They don’t have the right to read a book out loud,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. “That’s an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law.”


I can see the point, but it’s still a bit of a stretch. I don’t know who would want to listen to an entire book read by a dull, monotone, computerized voice anyway. Besides, we’ve always got Elizabeth Alexander for that. But the most telling thing about the complaint is that it comes from the publishers and agents, rather than from the authors themselves.


Read the whole article here.


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