I had in mind not just blind people in mind but also joggers and other sighted folks who enjoy the “Read to me” feature.
Beyond that, how about good text to speech and voiceover in Kindle apps?
Here is how you can convey your requests to Amazon:
1. Contacting Amazon directly through a Web form. Tell Jeff and his colleagues that you’d strongly prefer that all future Paperwhite models and other Kindle products offer sound capabilities, including text to speech in the future. But failing that, can he at least offer them as an option at a reasonable charge? Meanwhile tell him that Amazon should consult closely with the National Federation of the Blind to come up with the best voiceover systems for blind people.
2. Speaking out in Amazon’s Paperwhite forum or forums dealing with the models or app versions for which you want TTS. Please note that the Kindle Keyboard and the new Fire HD have it, although I don’t know about voiceover options in the latter case. I’ll welcome information from blind people. Here are some related thoughts from David Goldfield, a blind accessiblity-specialist in Philadelphia.
3. Using your blog, Twitter, Facebook and other social media to raise the issue. Amazon’s Twitter address is @amazon, and its Facebook page is here. Follow the Amazon account on Twitter and including @amazon in your messages—while encouraging others to join you in your TTS request. Be civil. Amazon has its flaws but is more sensitive to customer feedback than is the typical company. So, yes, this is worth a shot.
4. Contacting any friends you may have in the news media. Encourage them to raise the issue in news and opinion pieces. A letter to the editor or guest blog post, too? Sure, great—especially if you live in Seattle.
- How blind-friendly are Amazon’s Kindle apps for the iPhone and iPad? And what about those for other operating systems?
- No text to speech in Amazon’s new Paperwhite Kindles: Why? To push us toward Fire tablets and boost Amazon-owned Audible?
- Kindle Fire HDs apparently can’t change line spacing—and it appears that old Fires for now won’t be upgraded for text to speech
- E-book usability news: Adjustable line spacing now on the Kindle Fire HD 8.9” and perhaps other Fire HDs—although I still can’t narrow the spaces sufficiently
- Amazon buys Ivona text to speech: Good or bad for disabled e-library users and other TTS fans?