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Old 05-13-2009, 09:15 AM   #1
KarlB
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Kindle: Text-to-speech disabling has arrived

This apparently began yesterday. See Toni Morrison's A Mercy for example, and note the text "Text-to-Speech: Not enabled" below the price information. I did a more-or-less random scan of popular novels in the Kindle store and found 14 out of 42 books had this annotation.

Get out the Crayolas and color me not-happy.

Last edited by Nate the great; 05-13-2009 at 09:21 AM. Reason: fixed the link, moved to front page
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:56 AM   #2
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I am glad that Amazon has made this information fairly visible at least. I am sure they too want to squeeze the publishers and authors on this. Perhaps that will allow Kindle content buyers to vote with their dollars by not buying these and by posting negative comments (which I plan to do right now).
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:01 AM   #3
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Strip the DRM and get TTS back.

Speaking of stripping the DRM, has anyone actually tried to strip the DRM of a TTS disabled eBook?
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:49 AM   #4
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And theres an easy answer to this behavior - Don't buy "No TTS" books! ....Hey, don't buy DRM books!
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:49 AM   #5
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It's a shame that Amazon caved in and allowed publishers to disable TTS, but I'm glad that at least there's a way to know it beforehand now. I have a friend who's legally blind who would like to own a Kindle, but didn't want to take the chance of buying an ebook, just to find out that it had the TTS disabled. At least now he'll have that information. (Of course, I'm not sure he'd want a Kindle, knowing that publishers could do this, but it does make it more likely that he'd buy one.)

I put a no-tts tag on Morrison's book. I plan to do so on any book that I find with that kind of restriction. Publishers should be ashamed.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
Speaking of stripping the DRM, has anyone actually tried to strip the DRM of a TTS disabled eBook?
If stripping the DRM isn't enough (and it might not be), then run it through Calibre. The output from Calibre should not have the TTS flag in its metadata at all.

Since Amazon has already said that copyright holders have no right to restrict TTS, I assume they won't complain if someone works out how to re-enable TTS without stripping DRM. I would not be surprised if this easy to do (it is either easy or impossible). The authors and publishers could still object though.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:36 PM   #7
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At least you can tell which books are TTS disabled, so you can factor that in while thinking about whether the book is worth the price. Thanks, KarlB, for alerting us!
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:55 PM   #8
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Has anybody checked the meta data of the books to see if it is something simple to change?
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:07 PM   #9
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How about giving the books a one-star review as well?
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Old 05-13-2009, 02:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daithi View Post
How about giving the books a one-star review as well?
This would impede the ability to search for good books based on review stars for folks who don't use TTS, though.

... oh wait, book reviews on Amazon are kinda like AOL chatrooms for pre-adolescents anyway. Nevermind. j/k!
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Old 05-13-2009, 05:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daithi View Post
How about giving the books a one-star review as well?
I did consider this. The problem is that stars aren't for certain categories, but just overall scores. You have to specify your reason in the actual review. This has the unintended consequence of potentially biasing results against a particular author in an unwarranted way. For example, Toni Morrison's A Mercy has the TTS disabled, but other books of hers do not. Worse, unlike the quality of a book, the TTS status of a book can potentially change. I don't know how often -- or even if -- that has happened, but it's a possibility. And as long as it's a possibility, there's the potential that such a rating could unfairly affect a book, if its status changes.

Of course, the same can be said of taggign a book no-tts, but at least you can flag a tag as inappropriate for a book (e.g., when a book that's been given the 9.99 boycott tag has a price drop).

And of course, the other thing to consider is that ratings go across formats. Should a paperback get a bad review just because the ebook version of the book doesn't have TTS?

Last edited by bhartman36; 05-13-2009 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:39 PM   #12
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To be honest, I'm not sure that giving the book a one star review is the way to go. I suppose if not having TTS really upsets you then give it a single star review (you can always delete your reviews if things change later). Otherwise, you could find other ways to protest -- write the publisher/author, don't buy it, etc. Personally, I'd want TTS, but it's really not a make or break feature for me.
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:39 PM   #13
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IMO it's inappropriate and unfair to the author to give a book a review based on anything but the content of the book. Things like price and the technical limitations can and do change. They author had nothing to do with these things, in all likelihood, and it's sort of unfair to punish them with bad reviews.

Every item on Amazon has a forum, and IMO that's a much better place for issues like price and TTS.
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:35 PM   #14
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IMO it's inappropriate and unfair to the author to give a book a review based on anything but the content of the book. Things like price and the technical limitations can and do change. They author had nothing to do with these things, in all likelihood, and it's sort of unfair to punish them with bad reviews.

Every item on Amazon has a forum, and IMO that's a much better place for issues like price and TTS.
I can understand giving it a bad review for poor formatting or something of that nature but nobody should give bad reviews for disabled TTS.
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:18 PM   #15
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Well it's not Amazon's fault so much as it is the fault of the specific publisher.
Publishers are still terrified of the internet/ebooks and how it affects their copyright it seems.
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