C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


Interesting Kindle Topic


This quote got me thinking about my ADA clients and my learning disabled kids:

"We know that there exists a kill-switch for the text-to-speech feature that allows publishers to disable the feature for specific titles. While this feature protects the publisher’s ability to control how content is distributed, it sucks for people who really wanted this feature. If there’s one kill-switch, it’s likely that Amazon, and publishers, have other kill-switches at their disposal. Personally, I’d be uncomfortable with so many players having the ability to remotely tinker with my Kindle."

I was actually considering getting one for the boys to help teach them how to read. My kids are computer crazy so I thought this might make a very useful gift. The idea that they have embedded remote kill switches to a device that I pay for which could disable my content after I pay for it puts my knickers in a knot. Seriously.

Digital Rights Management is an important topic and I applaud efforts to protect those right, however, mico-managing my content after I pay for it: thumbs down. If there is a speech feature, I should be able to use it when I want to. A publisher doesn't want the text-to-speech feature on Kindle because they're selling audio books in competition? WTF? Are they trying to kill Kindle? Inquiring minds want to know because if they don't like it then dont make the title available on Kindle at all. I for one like text-to-speech features. It helps me teach my kids...that's why I want to buy them one.

Are they (those same publishers) going to invade my computer's text-to-speech capabilities next? I'm just saying...

Update: Here's what we're considering purchasing: Kindle DX


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Comment balloon 8 commentsC Tann-Starr • May 19 2009 08:53AM


I didn't know what kindle was until I read your blog. I don't like the idea of the controlled oversight, seems so sneaky!

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) over 11 years ago

I believe Kindle is the digital book where you can purchase books online and they are downloaded to this mobile "padfolio" looking device that you carry. It looks like a really neat device.

Posted by David Width Jr. over 11 years ago

Greg, It does seem a bit sneaky. The idea of having text-to-speech on Monday and not having it on Sunday whomps. If I buy a digital book, it's supposed to be my book. My whole family should be able to read it or listen to it while we're sitting around the house. Making it hard for my learning disabled kids to enjoy every book in my house sucks.Add my disappointment at not being able to listen to my content while I work... well... there you go - it whomps.


Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

David, it really is. My friend has one and she loves it. Oprah gives them away all the time. She loves it. I finally get around to giving it a whirl and before I order it I find out people have had their accounts disabled or hindered remotely without warning. What on earth are they thinking?

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

I would absolutely complain to Kindle about this. I thought about buying one, but as it is, I don't have a lot of time to even read the paper books I've got!

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Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) over 11 years ago

Elizabeth, I am so busy studying for the broker's exam sometimes I wish I had one just so I could listen to the material while I'm working. It would be great for the gym as well. Instead of doing cardio theater on the bike or treadmill I could Kindle my lessons rather than watch TBN or music videos (LOL). It really would save me a lot of time but I do not like the idea of starting out listening to my books then not being able to. That seriously whomps.

They can do this remotely at any time, sort of like publisher Russian-Speech-To-Text-Roulette where one never knows when they are going to pull the kill switch trigger, which defeats the purpose of making the original purchases. My digital books should be my digital books. Period. If I just wanted to read, I might as well buy it used and chuck it when I'm done. Kindle is for saving the work (and shelf space) plus having the convenience of listening to the work while multitasking.

Maybe I will complain about this. I wonder if we can do something under the ADA. They certainly are not accommodating the learning disabled and other protected class buyers by their lack of transparency regarding remotely removing benefits people are relying upon. Text-to-speech is very important to a lot of people.

While I research this I will put the purchase off until June. I have questions that I want answered, like, Can they delete our stuff without our permission? Will my digital books expire instead of being there forever so my kids can inherit them like regular books? Will there be a "if you read this 100 times you can no longer access the work" kill switch? Seriously. I wanna know what the heck is going on with these publishers...

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago


It seems this issue is definitely worth a letter or two to Amazon.  Seems there is some oversight on their part and you have a worthy case.

Posted by Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant (Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision) over 11 years ago

Rebecca, I'm hoping there is something issued when they stat shipping the new Kindle DX versions. I was originally gonna get the boys a Wii but we thought this might be more useful for the entire family. It has great features but does not appear to be uniform with their licensing agreements with publishers.

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

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