After I raised the issue of the Kindle Paperwhite being developed without a text-to-speech feature, a reader asked how she, too, could get in touch with Amazon to voice her displeasure.
Incidentally, I had in mind not just blind people, but also joggers and other sighted folks who enjoy the “Read to me” feature. Beyond that, how about good text to speech and voiceover in Kindle apps?
If you would also like to see TTS functionality for the Paperwhite, here’s how you can convey your requests to Amazon:
1. Contact Amazon directly through a web form. Tell Bezos and his colleagues that you’d strongly prefer that all Paperwhites and other Kindle products include text to speech in the future. But failing that, can he at least offer it as an option at a reasonable charge? Meanwhile, tell Bezos that Amazon should consult closely with the National Federation of the Blind to come up with the best voiceover systems for blind people.
2. Speak out in Amazon’s Paperwhite forum, or this forums dealing with the models or app versions for which you want TTS. Please note that the Kindle Keyboard and the new Fire HD have it, although I don’t know about voiceover options in the latter case. I’ll welcome information from blind people. Here are some related thoughts from David Goldfield, a blind accessiblity-specialist in Philadelphia.
3. Use your blog, your Twitter feed, your Facebook profile and other social media to raise the issue. Amazon’s Twitter handle is @amazon, and its Facebook page is here. Follow the Amazon account on Twitter and include “@amazon” in any relevant tweets, while also encouraging others to join you in your TTS request. Be civil. Amazon has its flaws, but is more sensitive to customer feedback than is the typical company. So, yes, this is worth a shot.