eBooks

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Here is a quick look at an indie Kindle book, “Kindle Culture: Tales of How Amazon’s E-Reader is Sparking a Cultural Revolution”. The author, Stephen Peters, blogs at Kindle Culture.  In researching and preparing for the book, he published a widely linked and much discussed estimate of Kindle demographics. Stephen was also interviewed about the book in episode 43 of Len Edgerly’s, “The Kindle Chronicles” podcast. His blog bio lists his age as 101, so judging by his picture I would say Peters has aged very well.

New to the Kindle, I am quickly becoming a fan. This book was recommended to me by a colleague. It provides fascinating background and insight into Kindle’s history and offers great stories of Kindle early adopters and the social community that the Kindle has inspired.

I work in the field of assistive technology, so I was particularly drawn to the stories of Kindle users who are physically and/or visually impaired. It is always heart-warming to hear stories of people who are challenged in some way given the capability to overcome a barrier enabling them to realize great benefit and joy. The Kindle 2 form-factor, text-to-speech and text size adjustment hold a lot of promise for many disabled users, enabling them to continue and/or once again enjoy the pleasure of reading.

Equally as interesting are the entrepreneurial stories the author shares of people who either planned or happened into a Kindle-related business. Success often breeds success in the world of innovation and the Kindle is no exception.

At the end of the book, the Peters shares a list of helpful sites and numerous article references that can help to satisfy any reader’s quest for additional Kindle and E-book knowledge.

Overall the book was an enjoyable read. And I admit, it is fun to have people look, point and inquire about my Kindle.

Too many compare Kindle’s text-to-speech to a beautifully crafted and performed audio book. That is a mistake. There’s too much additional information in an audio book represented by among other things, the voices of famous actors. It’s hard to imagine a text-to-speech engine ever being able to impart the drama and emotion of a Richard Burton or Peter O’Toole. Not to mention the fact that two audio books performed by different actors will result in two different works.

The text-to-speech capability in Kindle is obviously not on par with an audio book, or up to speed with the best speech engines. However, once you’re into a book and familiar with the characters and story line, brief episodes with Kindle’s text-to-speech are perfectly acceptable.

For example, let’s say you started reading a particularly thrilling book last evening and continued reading the next morning. Sadly, you must leave for work. Instead of listening to the radio or another rap song, fire up your Kindle and "read" while you drive. Again, it’s not great audio, but at this point you’re so engrossed in the story it doesn’t matter.

Try it. You might be surprised.