Amazon will have a new e-reader coming out October 1st–the Kindle Paperwhite. And although Amazon declares the Kindle Paperwhite to be the “World’s most advanced e-reader,” offering a screen with higher res and contrast, and a longer battery life than previous e-readers from the company, the Kindle Paperwhite will be missing one very basic element: sound.
I found an article on LibraryCity that expressed outrage over Amazon creating a new e-reader that was purposefully designed without Text to Speech, or TTS. Knowing that adding a little speaker is not a terribly pricey maneuver, I also question Amazon’s decision. Why create a better product in every other way but without including a basic element? There are so many people who could use TTS–the blind, drivers, and exercisers to name a few. The reason the concept of “e-reading” doesn’t bother me as much as it originally did is that I can see the potential for books to enter a completely new realm–to offer so many things that paper simply can’t. Combining audio with visual in one package is one such opportunity to put reading on a new plain. But for Amazon to not take that step on a new updated e-reader is weird and discouraging.