Confusion over Text to Speech on Kindle Titles

As many readers of this blog will know, most Amazon Kindle titles have a facility known as Text to Speech enabled. Text to Speech enables the contents of Kindle titles to be read aloud to readers, and is particularly useful to people with certain disabilities, for example those who are registered blind and who are not able to read print. You can find details of how to enable Text to Speech here, https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201829850.

I am myself registered blind and unable to read print. Consequently I rely on the Text to Speech facility on my Kindle or Voiceover (Apple’s screen reader which works with the Kindle app on Apple devices) to read Kindle content.

A week or so ago I noticed that product pages in the Amazon Kindle store had messages saying “Text to Speech not enabled”. This concerned me and I visited my own pages on Amazon only to discover that they also indicated the unavailability of Text to Speech.

As someone who is themselves visually impaired, I wish to ensure that my poetry collections and other works are accessible to all readers. I therefore contacted Amazon.

Yesterday I received a message from Amazon’s Tech Support advising me that most Kindle content has Text to Speech enabled and advising as to how this could be turned on. They did not respond to my point that titles (previously shown as having Text to Speech enabled, now do not do so).

I have checked several of my titles, which continue to read aloud using Voiceover in combination with the Kindle app on my iphone. In addition I downloaded another title (not my own) which is shown as not having Text to Speech enabled. Again this works fine on my iphone.

In conclusion, the problem appears to be not that Text to Speech has been disabled. Rather the issue centres on the fact that accessible Kindle titles are being shown as inaccessible. This could cause those who rely on Text to Speech, not to purchase books in the belief that the content is inaccessible (when, in fact it can be read aloud).

Kevin

10 thoughts on “Confusion over Text to Speech on Kindle Titles

  1. Victoria Zigler (@VictoriaZigler)

    That’s really annoying. Firstly, why have a part where it mentions the availability of text to speach if it’s not going to be accurate. Secondly, I have passed on titles a couple of times because it said the text to speach was not available, and it’s rather irritating to learn I almost certainly could have read those books after all.

    Reply
    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      I agree with you Tori. Of course one can download a book and if it is not Text to Speech enabled return it for a refund. However readers should, obviously not need to do this – it should be clear from the book’s product page that the book is (or is not) available with Text to Speech. Best. Kevin

      Reply
      1. Victoria Zigler (@VictoriaZigler)

        Exactly! Otherwise why bother having the part in the description where it specifies? If we’re going to have to just grab a copy and hope for the best, we might as well not have the piece in the product details where it mentions text to speach.

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