Text-To-Speech on the Kindle
One of the last “Amazon highlighted” features I used on my Kindle was the ‘Text-To-Speech’ tool.
Why? I have never been an audible books fan–finding it too difficult for my ADHD mind to follow the words while my brain process countless other simultaneous thoughts. Also, I imagined a computerized monotone voice much like my Speak & Spell from my youth.
But I finally decided to give in and try out the feature on a recent 1-hour drive. I was surprised to find it a useful tool, albeit with several annoying quirks that, hopefully, future firmware upgrades will fix.
- Some inflection–particularly the software’s ability to find upcoming punctuation and alter inflection on words prior to the punctuation.
- 3 voice speeds; 2 genders
- Auto page tuning
- Long delay (up to 35 seconds sometimes) for startup of text-to-speech
- Disabled page buttons (there is no way to skip ahead to the next page without turning off the text-to-speech)
- Inconsistent pronunciations
Overall, this can be a useful feature under certain conditions, although improvements to the software would be helpful in future firmware updates.
- Start/stop: Shift+SYM
- Pause: Spacebar
- Start at specific point on a page: Move cursor to the point just before you want the reading to begin.
Below is a sample of Text-to-Speech (Male-default -> Male-slower -> Female-slower) from the book, Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down: