Amazon Backs Off Text-to-Speech Feature in Kindle - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com
Amazon announced today it will let publishers decide whether they want the new Kindle e-book device to read their books aloud.
The text-to-speech feature allows Kindle owners to have books read to them in a male or female computerized voice. ... the Author’s Guild ... said [it] undermined the market for the professional audio books that are sold separately.
Amazon maintains that the feature is legal, and that it would in fact increase the market for audio books.
I think the Author's Guild must not listen to their own audio books. There is a huge difference between having someone read a book, and having the computer do it.
The best audio books add to the story. For instance, the audio version of Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Ann Petry included not just the slave song verses as written in the book, but the actual songs being sung. I suppose not every book can be so enhanced, but many can be.
There are also many books that are read by the author, Home by Julie Andrews is one example, where the audio experience immerses you in the book in an entirely unique way. After listening to Andrews book, one feels as though you just spent several hours having tea with her while she reminisced. In addition, she could add-in musical moments and vocalizations not possible in the written form.