Kindle 2 Controversy

So there seems to be some trouble brewing for Amazon’s Kindle 2. One of the  features on the newest version of Amazon’s e-book reader is a text-to-audio function. Now, I’m assuming that the K2 uses a robot voice to read the text, but maybe someone in the know could enlighten us? In any case, the Author’s Guild claims that this function will be devastating to the audio book market, and that the authors need to be paid licensing fees.

As a writer, and as a consumer, I disagree.

I greatly enjoy audio books, it’s one of the things that keeps my brain happy when I’m working at my day job. I love to hear a good audio book reader, one who can let you know who’s speaking just by using a specific voice. I find it hard to think that any Kindle robo-reader is going to match that.

For that same reason, I don’t think I can get upset as an author that someone may be able to push a button and have my work read to them by a machine. It’s just not going to be the same as a real live person reading the story. Besides, it’s just as easy for someone to press a button and create a torrent to upload to the internet.

So no, I don’t agree that Amazon needs to pay authors to be able to have a generic machine voice read their work aloud. Just like I don’t believe consumers should have to pay authors for the privilege of reading their children bedtime stories. Neither is the same as having a true professional voice actor reading the story. People who really enjoy audio books are going to know that.