Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Roy Blount Jr. and Text to Audio

In an Op/Ed in yesterday's NY Times Roy Blount Jr. current President of The Authors Guild comments on the text to audio functionality of the Kindle 2.

What the guild is asserting is that authors have a right to a fair share of the value that audio adds to Kindle 2’s version of books. For this, the guild is being assailed. On the National Federation of the Blind’s Web site, the guild is accused of arguing that it is illegal for blind people to use “readers, either human or machine, to access books that are not available in alternative formats like Braille or audio.”

In fact, publishers, authors and American copyright laws have long provided for free audio availability to the blind and the guild is all for technologies that expand that availability. (The federation, though, points out that blind readers can’t independently use the Kindle 2’s visual, on-screen controls.) But that doesn’t mean Amazon should be able, without copyright-holders’ participation, to pass that service on to everyone.
Funny, he didn't mention how changing the font size might destroy the market for large print books. I wonder why no one is arguing "hey, you think that mechanized voice was good, how about buying the version read by Jim Dale"

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