Tag Archives: amazon kindle

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

“A Crime Thriller with a gripping plot, atmosphere and a sprinkling of romance”, – a review of my short story “Samantha”

I was pleased to read this review of my short story, “Samantha, which the reviewer entitles “A crime thriller with a gripping plot, atmosphere and a sprinkling of romance”:

“I downloaded this short novel when it was being offered free on Amazon Kindle and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. It had a gripping plot, good characterisation and plenty of ‘atmosphere’; things that can be lacking in short stories …”.
To read the full review please visit, https://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R2YUTS78WBRB01/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00BL3CNHI.
To read “Samantha”, or to download a free sample, please go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BL3CNHI/

The Girl Who Wasn’t There, by K Morris

In September 2015, I released “The Girl Who Wasn’t there”. You can find a book trailer (which includes me reading “Dolls”, a poem included in this collection, here

You can find “The Girl Who Wasn’t There” on Amazon

For a video of my friend, Shanelle reading the title poem please see below

Starting Work On A New Poetry Collection

In June 2017, I published “My Old Clock I Wind And Other Poems”. My collection has received some great reviews and I am delighted that the book is available in electronic, paperback, braille and (most recently) audio format.

I have many unpublished poems lurking in various places, mainly (but not exclusively) in the My Documents folder on my trusty old laptop! The time has come to remove the virtual cobwebs, perform requisite editing and, in due course publish a further collection.

The above task will, I know be highly rewarding but also time consuming. I shall, of course keep you updated on my progress via this blog.

(“My Old Clock I Wind” is available in ebook and paperback from Moyhill Publishing, http://moyhill.com/clock/.

It can also be found in the Amazon Kindle store, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0735JBVBG.

For the audio version please visit https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Arts-Entertainment/My-Old-Clock-I-Wind-and-Other-Poems-Audiobook/B077VYT3X6?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=c6e316b8-14da-418d-8f91-b3cad83c5183&pf_rd_r=GNF53RPHAAHBXWSFCGHP&.

For the braille edition please contact The Royal National Institute Of Blind People, quoting order number 25870603. You can call RNIB on 0303 123 9999 or visit RNIB’s Library, http://www.rniblibrary.com/iguana/www.main.cls?p=b3ba52c6-5bac-4699-afb9-0dfb99409462&v=c1f4a42f-ad5f-4c9d-bed5-105fe0d1b35f.

When entering the library, click on “Search” and enter “morris k my old clock I wind and other poems”. Hit search and my book should be displayed).

Reading for All

Being blind and unable to read print, I find the Amazon Kindle’s text to speech facility a huge boon. For anyone who is unaware of the text to speech facility, when activated, it reads aloud books where the author/publisher has enabled speech. While the reading voice is robotic, it has improved over the years and (in my experience) once the reader becomes lost in a good book, it is easy to forget that a dalek is doing the reading!

The majority of books in the Amazon Kindle store have text to speech enabled. Of those which do not, most (perhaps all) are available as audible downloads from audible.co.uk/audible.com. However, Audible titles are, on the whole more expensive than their Kindle counterparts, which means that someone who is unable to read print must (if the text to speech facility is not enabled on the Kindle version) spend more to obtain the book in audio form. Personally I believe that all titles should have text to speech enabled irrespective of whether they are available from Audible or other suppliers of audio titles, as it is wrong that a blind individual has to pay more for an accessible version of a book.

All of my books have text to speech enabled meaning that they are accessible to all. In addition my collection of poetry, “Lost in the Labyrinth of My Mind” can be purchased, in braille from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), while my latest poetry book, “My Old Clock I Wind” is in the process of being added to RNIB’s library.

To purchase “Lost in the Labyrinth of My Mind” in braille please go to, http://www.rniblibrary.com/iguana/www.main.cls?surl=search#savelist=General_*_LOSTLABYRINTH, and to buy it in print or ebook formats please visit, http://moyhill.com/lost/. To obtain “My Old Clock I Wind in ebook or paperback please visit, http://moyhill.com/clock/.

You can find links to all of my titles on my website, https://newauthoronline.com/about/.

Kevin

The Suspect And Other Tales By K Morris Available In The Kindle Store

My latest collection of short stories, The Suspect And Other Tales is available for purchase in the Amazon Kindle Store.

The Suspect comprises a collection of Tales of the unexpected, ranging from stories of crime and vengeance through to ghostly happenings in an ancient mansion. The stories originally appeared on this blog, newauthoronline.com.

To purchase The Suspect And Other Tales or download a free sample please visit http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PKPTQ0U. At time of writing The Suspect And Other Tales does not show up on amazon.co.uk. However, in a few hours time the anthology should be available on both amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. I hope you enjoy reading The Suspect And Other Tales. If you purchase The Suspect or any of my other books I would appreciate it if you would please consider leaving a review.

 

Many thanks

 

Kevin

 

Reviews And A Thank You

I was excited to see that my collection of short stories, “An Act Of Mercy” has received the following 4 star review:

“A series of short, dark stories that one can easily relate to although most would not find themselves in the situations the stories involve. Thoroughly

thought provoking”. (For the review please visit http://www.amazon.com/review/R3PVJFPC6DWJDQ/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm).

 

In addition, my collection of short stories, “Street Walker And Other Stories” has received a 4 star review from the same reviewer:

“The first page led me to believe this was to be a book of ladies of the night. Then it turned to little short stories reminiscent of Stephen King. But the

final entry joined them together in a way that sticks with you”. (For the review please go to http://www.amazon.com/review/RMGILYKK6L3ZV/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm).

 

Thank you to the reviewer for the above reviews and to all of you who have helped to promote my writing by reblogging and liking my posts. It is very much appreciated. Kevin

Amazon Campaign For Cheaper Ebooks

Amazon are campaigning for the price of ebooks to be reduced, http://www.readersunited.com/. Much of what Amazon says makes sense. The cost of producing and distributing an ebook is negligible compared to traditional books and yet many electronic texts are only marginally less expensive than their venerable hard and paperback cousins, indeed some ebooks cost more than the tomes on sale in book stores which can not be justified.

As an author myself I want as many people as possible to buy my books. Reading is for everyone and yes, of course I want to make a little money!

Take a look at the above link and make up your own mind as to whether Amazon’s campaign is worthy of support.

So Long And Thanks For All The Dots

I became blind at about 18-months-old as a result of a blood clot on the brain. I have some useful vision including the ability to see outlines of objects, I can not, however read print.

As a young child I was taught how to use Braille, a system of raised dots which blind people touch in order to decipher text. Growing up Braille was central to my life. I read Braille books voraciously, my school examinations and university exams where in Braille and I could not have progressed easily in life in the absence of those strange, bumpy dots!

Today there is growing concern that Braille is under threat. See, for example the following article, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11258778. The growth of digital technology makes it incredibly easy for blind people to access printed material without having to use Braille. I am typing this with the assistance of Jaws which converts text into speech and Braille on a standard Windows computer allowing visually impaired PC users to access the internet, send and receive e-mail etc. While Jaws does work with Braille displays allowing visually impaired PC users to read Braille via their machines, Braille displays are not essential to the task of reading. My home laptop on which I am writing now is not hooked up to a Braille display and I don’t feel the lack of the technology. I can cope perfectly well in the absence of a Braille display.

Amazon Kindles are equipped with a text to speech facility which allows the reading of books without looking at the device’s screen. Apple products such as the iPad have voiceover which enables visually impaired people to utilise various apps including the one for reading Kindle content. Safari and other key apps are also accessible.

From the above one might conclude that braill is, like the parrot in Monty Python well and truly deceased. However Braille remains incredibly useful. Most medicines are now labelled in Braille which allows blind people to find their medication without having to rely on sighted friends, neighbours, family etc. Again some household products contain Braille labelling (next time you go to the supermarket take a look at the bottles of bleach many of which are labelled with “bleach” in Braille.

Despite the proliferation of digital technology I still enjoy reading Braille. It is lovely to sit in a comfortable armchair leafing through The New Oxford Book Of English Verse or Poe’s “tales of Mystery and Imagination”.

Braille is certainly declining but there remains fight in the old beast yet!

Stranger than fiction

My story, The First Time relates how Becky, a young graduate with a first class degree in English literature becomes a prostitute in order to clear her debts. The following post reminded me of an incident in The First Time where Julie, Becky’s friend and a fellow escort is asked by one of her clients to pretend to be his 14-year-old daughter. For the true account by a former working girl please visit http://recoveringsexworker.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/fantasies-of-business-men-on-their-lunch-hour/. For my story, The First Time please go to http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-First-Time-K-Morris-ebook/dp/B00FJGKY7Y