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The Kindle begins to find its voice with text-to-speech

Amazon is making its Kindle e-readers more accessible for visually impaired users by introducing a screen-reader feature.

The VoiceView screen-reading function is now available on the Kindle Paperwhite model by plugging in the ‘Kindle Audio Adaptor’, a USB device designed by Amazon specifically for use with the Kindle. Users plug the adaptor into the Paperwhite charging jack, before plugging in headphones to the adaptor, and can then listen to e-books and navigate the Kindle interface through text-to-speech and touch-screen functionality, with eight adjustable reading speeds.

VoiceView was previously only available on Amazon’s Fire tablet devices, but the company has now extended it to the Paperwhite – seen as the ‘mid-range’ Kindle option. Currently, it’s only this one model that supports VoiceView, but a post on Amazon’s blog says that the feature “will be available in the future with other Kindle e-readers as well.”

The VoiceView-enabled Paperwhite Kindle is being sold in a special package, including the audio adaptor, for $140. This is $20 more than the standard Paperwhite price, but Amazon is supplying a $20 Amazon account credit with all purchases, to offset the extra cost.


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