July 9 – 16, 2009 Edition Hachette Supports Amazon Text-to-Speech

NEW YORK, NY (AUTHORLINK NEWS, July 9, 2009)–The Hachette Book Group last week issued a statement in support of Amazon’s text-to-speech feature for Kindle 2. The new feature had been challenged by the Authors Guild as an attempt by Amazon to use unauthorized audio rights.

Organizations representing the visually impaired have charged that the Authors Guild was insensitive to those with visual issues, which lead Amazon to say that it would follow rightsholders wishes.

Hachette said it does not object to adding TTS to the vast majority of its books. The only books it would withhold from the service are those within its audio publishing program or that it might opt out in special circumstances where certain artistic elements are involved, as in a memoir, where the author’s voice is a dramatic element. In those incidents, Hachette would request that the TTS feature be disabled.

The statement from HBG said the publisher has consulted with a number of parties interested in the issue and recognizes the value of such functionality for people with visual disabilities. HBG also said it believes TTS technology may soon be a feature on a number of devices, thus it decided the new technology should be embraced on Amazon and beyond.