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Posts tagged TTS

How to get the most out of library ebooks via the right gadget, text to speech, and otherwise
October 18, 2013 | 6:26 pm

FireVergeWant to hear text to speech from free library ebooks on your 50-mile commute? Even if you own an Android machine and the usual OverDrive app can’t do “read-aloud” unless audiobooks count? Also, what if you haven’t even bought an e-reading gizmo for library use, but want to? Which model to go with? In those cases and others, the guidance here is for you. Most tips will work even with low-cost, no-name tablets. But let’s pay special attention to the new Kindle Fire HDXes. They are among the top choices if you care more about reading than about tech and can stomach...

Review: Voice Dream Reader e-reading app
May 13, 2013 | 11:49 am

Voice DreamNote: An update of this post on LibraryCity.org focuses on education-related issues of read-aloud apps. A Catch-22 dogs those of us who most often read e-books visually but also want to hear them when we’re exercising or driving. The usual e-bookware doesn’t always come with or work with text to speech capabilities. Even if it does, we can’t control the aural part as closely as we’d prefer. I myself like the Moon+ Reader Pro Android app, and I’m in love with the added-on “Amy” voice, a British-accented delight from another developer, Ivona, now an arm of Amazon. But I can’t revisit already-viewed text quickly enough while I’m hearing audio by...

Bookshare introduces new products for disabled readers
February 11, 2013 | 10:00 am

BookshareBookshare has developed two new digital products to help those with disabilities. Bookshare’s Web Reader and Bookshelf were announced at the Assistive Technology Industry Association conference, held January 30 through February 2 in Orlando, Fla. The products were created to help those with impairments such as learning disabilities, physical disabilities or low vision. The Web Reader will allow Bookshare members to open books, including NIMAC textbooks, in a browser without the need of any downloads or separate software. The Web Reader is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer 9 and above. Web Reader allows individuals to adjust font size, colors and display format....

Is Amazon’s Acquisition of Ivona good or bad for disabled e-library users?
January 24, 2013 | 3:45 pm

Well, guess which Seattle-based  megaconglomerate has just bought Ivona Software (Web site here, Wikipedia entry here)—perhaps the world’s best provider of text to speech to use with e-books and other texts? That’s right, Amazon. It’s already using an Ivona voice in the Kindle Fire, and Ivona tech is also powering “Voice Guide” and “Explore by Touch.” Too bad those features aren’t available on the Paperwhite so far. Deliberate intra-brand market segmentation? Stinks either way. At any rate, even now, you can see Jeff Bezos’ corporate branding on the Ivona site. It’s too early to know how this will shake out for library users with disabilities and for other...

Kindle Fire HDs apparently can’t change line spacing …
September 17, 2012 | 12:10 pm

Kindle Fire HD tablets apparently can’t change line spacing when you’re reading an e-book. Is this part of a consumer-hostile niching initiative by Amazon to high-pressure my fellow Kindle addicts into buying more than one gizmo? Yes, I suspect—if we consider similar disappointments, such as the omission of sound in the Paperwhite E Ink reader line. Separately, it appears that at least for now, Amazon won’t offer a text-to-speech upgrade for owners of the original Fire (above photo). Let’s speak up and change that! Big thanks to Andrea for nailing this one down, and I hope other LibraryCity community participants will also raise usability issues with Amazon in a civil...

How to encourage Amazon to bring TTS to the Paperwhite
September 16, 2012 | 10:30 pm

After I raised the issue of the Kindle Paperwhite being developed without a text-to-speech feature, a reader asked how she, too, could get in touch with Amazon to voice her displeasure. Incidentally, I had in mind not just blind people, 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? If you would also like to see TTS functionality for the Paperwhite, here's how you can convey your requests to Amazon: 1. Contact Amazon directly through a web form. Tell Bezos and his colleagues that you’d strongly prefer that all Paperwhites and other...

How blind-friendly are Amazon’s Kindle apps for the iPhone and iPad? And what about those for other operating systems?
September 11, 2012 | 11:11 am

Text to speech is AWOL from Amazon’s beautiful Paperwhite Kindles, and LibraryCity’s complaint made a stir, complete with a link at The Verge, a major tech site. Keep your related comments coming. I especially like those from David Goldfield, a blind Philadelphian who is an accessibility expert and activist. Please sign the Reading Rights Coalition’s petition he pointed me to—one against the loathsome practice of TTS blocking. Shame, shame, shame on the Authors Guild and the like-minded. Just plain wrong. And I speak as a writer, too, not just a reader—since so many time-strapped people these days want to enjoy books while commuting or exercising but don’t need human narration. The...

Follow That Story: Paperwhite’s suspiciously absent TTS
September 11, 2012 | 9:30 am

Last Friday, we brought you a wonderfully seditious opinion piece written by TeleRead founder David Rothman about the fact that Amazon's brand-new Kindle Paperwhite models were produced without text to speech (TTS) functionality. It's an important essay, so click here to give it a read if you haven't already. David tells us he's been in touch with the public relations department of the National Federation for the Blind, who are apparently attempting to get a conversation started with Amazon about this very contentious issue. The NFB's PR director, Chris Danielsen, published a release last Thursday that has since been nationally distributed....