First off, this article by science fiction author Cory DoctorowWho will be in conversation with Gareth L Powell at this year’s Eastercon. in the Guardian shouldn’t be called ‘Authors have lost the plot in Amazon Kindle battle’. Pressure is coming from the Authors’ Guild and from publishers. Both might claim to represent authors, but whether they do or not is debatable.
Now, I happen to disagree with that position because I don’t think that text-to-speech is a substitute for audiobooks for the majority of listeners, and because the value of text-to-speech is such that people will buy enough ebooks to offset any losses from substitution, and, most importantly, authors who oppose this feature look like grasping, greedy jerks and will alienate their readers.
Quite apart from the infringement of audiobook rights, there an accessibility issue. Plenty of readers who are partially sighted or have difficulty reading will benefit hugely from having the text spoken aloud. This technology has the potential to bring books to a wider market. Meanwhile, those with a vested interest are content to arse around like mid-1990s record company executives and the RIAA.
► Cory Doctorow: Authors have lost the plot in Amazon Kindle battle | Technology | guardian.co.uk
Paul Aitken, director of the Author’s Guild isn’t mustard-keen on a feature of the new Amazon Kindle 2.0. If you download a book in text form, the Kindle will read it aloud.
“They don’t have the right to read a book out loud,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. “That’s an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law.”
These are Neil Gaiman’s thoughts:
My point of view: When you buy a book, you’re also buying the right to read it aloud, have it read to you by anyone, read it to your children on long car trips, record yourself reading it and send that to your girlfriend etc. This is the same kind of thing, only without the ability to do the voices properly, and no-one’s going to confuse it with an audiobook. And that any authors’ societies or publishers who are thinking of spending money on fighting a fundamentally pointless legal case would be much better off taking that money and advertising and promoting what audio books are and what’s good about them with it.
I agree entirely with Mr Gaiman — as a reader, a listener and an author.
► Neil Gaiman’s Journal: Quick argument summary
Props Daring Fireball and Boing Boing.