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Old 08-09-2022, 08:39 PM   #1
Devot3d
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Kindle Paperwhite TTS

I have TTS on my Kindle, but only on kindle store books, I want it to work on books I load from my PC. Anyone how to make this work?

I can't find much information on the Kindle text to speech ability, but I have read about some people going in to the accessibility options and getting TTS functionality from there.. But that's not the case on my Kindle.

My Kindle has been able to play TTS from any book purchased from the store (including kindle unlimited). Perhaps because my Kindle is purchased in China with a Chinese account, and perhaps in China they're less precious about audiobooks.

Most of the books allow TTS, except for the Harry Potter books. (There's a Chinese app which has huge numbers of audiobooks for a small subscription, but no Harry Potter. So the rights owners are vigilant on that...)



Anyhow, you can see on compatible books there's a headphone icon



When you hit the icon and press play it will try to connect to your bluetooth device.



While reading it will underline the current sentence.
The TTS actually sounds really good.




As you can see the voiceview screen reader is not turned on.


Anyhow, I haven't been able to figure out how to get side-loaded books to show that headphone icon. I tried different formats in Calibre (mobi, azw3, kfx...) I've tried a java MobiMetaEditor I saw suggested in a different thread to enable TTS, but it didn't work.

Anyone know where to look to figure out the answer?
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Old 08-10-2022, 12:00 PM   #2
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How did you "load" those books your Kindle?

1) transfer via USB cable
2) wireless delivery using "send to email" or "Send to Kindle" apps/extensions?

Check if those books (file copies on the Kindle itself, obviously) with MobiMetaEditor have "cdeType" value as EBOK or PDOC. And also that "ttsflag" you already mentioned.

If the value is PDOC try changing them to EBOK and transfer them to your Kindle via USB cable (prior to that remove the exist file for the same book from your Kindle) and then test TTS functionality.
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Old 08-10-2022, 03:33 PM   #3
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The headphone icon indicates a title for which you have an audiobook companion. It has nothing to do with TTS/VoiceView. It means you can download the audiobook and listen to it as well as the ebook (though not simultaneously), and reading position is synchronized between the two formats. VoiceView is not restricted to Kindle Store books.

All 7th generation and later Kindles support VoiceView screen reader for all titles that are not fixed layout. TTS restrictions do not apply. However, it's not as convenient to use as TTS, as it is designed for people with vision impairments (for whom it works very well).

The last Kindle to support TTS was the Kindle Touch (4th gen I think?). Currently, the only devices that actually support TTS for Kindle books are the Fire tablets.
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Old 08-11-2022, 12:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomsem View Post
The headphone icon indicates a title for which you have an audiobook companion. It has nothing to do with TTS/VoiceView. It means you can download the audiobook and listen to it as well as the ebook (though not simultaneously), and reading position is synchronized between the two formats. VoiceView is not restricted to Kindle Store books.

All 7th generation and later Kindles support VoiceView screen reader for all titles that are not fixed layout. TTS restrictions do not apply. However, it's not as convenient to use as TTS, as it is designed for people with vision impairments (for whom it works very well).

The last Kindle to support TTS was the Kindle Touch (4th gen I think?). Currently, the only devices that actually support TTS for Kindle books are the Fire tablets.
You see that is where I am confused, because it is clearly working on my device as I described it in my post. You can see that I do not have the screenreader turned on and yet it is playing text-to-speech versions of the book when I hit that headphone icon.
As I said in my initial post I think it must be a difference of the Chinese market.
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Old 08-11-2022, 01:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shamanNS View Post
How did you "load" those books your Kindle?

1) transfer via USB cable
2) wireless delivery using "send to email" or "Send to Kindle" apps/extensions?

Check if those books (file copies on the Kindle itself, obviously) with MobiMetaEditor have "cdeType" value as EBOK or PDOC. And also that "ttsflag" you already mentioned.

If the value is PDOC try changing them to EBOK and transfer them to your Kindle via USB cable (prior to that remove the exist file for the same book from your Kindle) and then test TTS functionality.
where do i find this app or program MobiMetaEditor. tts on android only reads one page at time for docs.
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Old 08-11-2022, 03:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devot3d View Post
You see that is where I am confused, because it is clearly working on my device as I described it in my post. You can see that I do not have the screenreader turned on and yet it is playing text-to-speech versions of the book when I hit that headphone icon.
As I said in my initial post I think it must be a difference of the Chinese market.
Which Kindle model do you actually have? It really does not sound like it is any Kindle that has ever existed. Only generation 2/3/4 Kindles had TTS feature, and this is going back 11 years now.

Perhaps it is a Chinese clone, and not actually an Amazon device? In that case the software and hardware features would be entirely different.

Amazon recently stopped selling Kindles in China, and will stop selling e-books there next year.

Last edited by tomsem; 08-11-2022 at 04:03 AM.
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Old 08-11-2022, 04:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shamanNS View Post
How did you "load" those books your Kindle?

1) transfer via USB cable
2) wireless delivery using "send to email" or "Send to Kindle" apps/extensions?

Check if those books (file copies on the Kindle itself, obviously) with MobiMetaEditor have "cdeType" value as EBOK or PDOC. And also that "ttsflag" you already mentioned.

If the value is PDOC try changing them to EBOK and transfer them to your Kindle via USB cable (prior to that remove the exist file for the same book from your Kindle) and then test TTS functionality.
So I have been transferring everything via USB, and they did have the value set as EBOK.
I installed an extension to caliber to create the KFX format books, and then replaced the DRM version of a book that I had downloaded from the Amazon Kindle store with a version of that same book which I have used the deDRM plug-in on to convert to MOBI and then convert back to KFX and it maintained the text-to-speech functionality.
What I'm thinking is that means is that they are using something external to the file itself to enable or disable text-to-speech.
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Old 08-11-2022, 07:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devot3d View Post
You see that is where I am confused, because it is clearly working on my device as I described it in my post. You can see that I do not have the screenreader turned on and yet it is playing text-to-speech versions of the book when I hit that headphone icon.
As I said in my initial post I think it must be a difference of the Chinese market.
You sure you are not confusing audio books and Text To Speech?
Also some cheap or free audio books confusingly are produced by TTS rather than recording a human.

The PW3 and later have “Voice View”. You install a download and it's a user interface for blind or partially sighted. This also includes an awkward TTS. The PW3 needs a USB to audio dongle/adaptor and the PW4 and later use Bluetooth. Some ebooks come with free Audible "audio books". Others can have it purchased. That's what the headphone icon refers to, not TTS.

AFIAK standalone TTS is only on early Kindles with a real headphone socket. Not much better than a PC in late 1980s.
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Old 08-11-2022, 09:15 AM   #9
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Amazon does (or did) sell a special Kindle model for the Chinese market. It runs Fire OS (Android) on an e-ink device with a custom version of the Kindle app.
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Old 08-11-2022, 09:29 AM   #10
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But even on the Chinese Amazon eink Android will the headphone icon mean TTS available or audiobook?

Certainly it might get no more Amazon China content.
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Old 08-11-2022, 10:55 AM   #11
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There's a lot of speculation on this thread that is misplaced. Unfortunately even though my account is 12 years old I haven't posted much so I guess moderators have to approve every post.

You can see here that it is literally a bog standard 10th gen Kindle.



It's not running Android, just the normal Kindle OS. It is also actually running text to speech not some sort of mp3 file.

Anyhow, some things that I've discovered while my posts were waiting for moderation: I did a lot of experimenting with different files and formats and messing with different metadata.
What I found is that I could use Calibre to take the ASIN from a book that has working TTS and transfer that to any book (as long as the book's language is set to Chinese) and convert to the KFX format and the TTS would work.
It didn't matter if there are multiple books using that ASIN. But as soon as you alter that ASIN the Kindle no longer allows TTS on that book.

My theory is that the Kindle is storing a database of ASINs for books you have purchased (and allow TTS, Harry Potter didn't when I got it on Kindle Unlimited) and using that to determine if TTS is allowed.

I could be mistaken about how they are doing it, but that seems to fit with what I've found.
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Old 08-11-2022, 12:01 PM   #12
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Also known as the PW4. It used Bluetooth for TTS and Audible. It only does TTS as part of Voice View. Which will work with any sideloaded book with no DRM. Some books don't have TTS due to publisher restrictions, which is what you have discovered.

Some books automatically come with Audible, which doesn't use MP3, it's a proprietary format of a recording.
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Old 08-11-2022, 12:43 PM   #13
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Also known as the PW4. It used Bluetooth for TTS and Audible. It only does TTS as part of Voice View. Which will work with any sideloaded book with no DRM. Some books don't have TTS due to publisher restrictions, which is what you have discovered.

Some books automatically come with Audible, which doesn't use MP3, it's a proprietary format of a recording.
No, you are mistaken. If you look at my first post you will see the picture showing that voice view is turned off. I tried voice view once and it was an awful experience.
This tts is a nice experience, it has a sleep timer, speed from 0.5x-3x… and it’s not some secret Audible file masquerading as tts.

I don’t think Amazon even bothers trying to run an Audible branch in China.

This is standalone TTS on a kindle pw4 and it only works on books in the KFX format and with ASINs of books I have purchased. It’s not some other thing that works on any old book you download from the internet, if it was I would have never bothered asking the question.
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Old 08-11-2022, 12:55 PM   #14
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This is pretty fascinating. IIRC @jhowell found some references to Text to Speech in one of the updates awhile back. Why they would choose to enable it in China, of all places?

And generally speaking, I would expect that removing DRM removes TTS restrictions, and it should work with anything side-loaded. At least that's how it works on Fire. So it is strange that in this case it appears to be white-listed only for certain ASIN's.

It gives credence to the idea that Amazon is reluctant to undercut their Audible business by enabling TTS on Kindles in the US, even with these rather extreme restrictions.

Well, this is one reason I purchased a PocketBook Era. It has a very good TTS implementation and you can use either bluetooth or onboard speaker. It highlights words as they are read, and it responds to play/pause/volume controls which the BT audio device may have.
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Old 08-11-2022, 02:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devot3d View Post
No, you are mistaken. If you look at my first post you will see the picture showing that voice view is turned off. I tried voice view once and it was an awful experience.
This tts is a nice experience, it has a sleep timer, speed from 0.5x-3x… and it’s not some secret Audible file masquerading as tts.
Sorry but I don't see an image in your first post.
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