I’ve worked in publishing. I’ve been a part of rights negotiations with writers. And I understand the Authors Guild point of protecting their right to sell the audio rights to their work. But Amazon backing off of text-to-speech on K2 feels a bit like bullshit.
It’s not like the text-to-speech feature is all that great. I’m certainly not getting rid of my Audible platinum subscription.
Nevertheless, we strongly believe many rightsholders will be more comfortable with the text-to-speech feature if they are in the driver’s seat.
Therefore, we are modifying our systems so that rightsholders can decide on a title by title basis whether they want text-to-speech enabled or disabled for any particular title. We have already begun to work on the technical changes required to give authors and publishers that choice. With this new level of control, publishers and authors will be able to decide for themselves whether it is in their commercial interests to leave text-to-speech enabled. We believe many will decide that it is.
Who really thinks selling audio rights to a spoken-word performance by a human is the same as having electronic rights include the mechanical reading of the digital text? Garumph.