Retailers, consumers and prices
Amazon’s hotly anticipated Kindle e-reader got even more press on Wednesday, but not the good variety.
In an op-ed titled “The Kindle Swindle” that appeared in the New York Times Wednesday, the president of the Author’s Guild, Roy Blount Jr., took Amazon to task for its text-to-speech function on the new Kindle that began shipping this week.
The new Kindle can read books aloud — but unlike audio books, royalties are not paid to authors. Blount argues the technology Amazon uses to turn text into a human voice is quickly improving, and authors need to be “duly vigilant” about this new means of transmitting their work.
The Guild, which is studying the issue, has called the Kindle’s speech function a “significant challenge to the publishing industry.” It has recommended to its members that they bring up the issue of the Kindle when negotiating new book contracts.