The Kindle a Swindle Because of Audio Feature? I Think Not

Roy Blount, Jr., the president of the Authors Guild is among those concerned about the Amazon Kindle’s new audio feature and its possible effects on revenues for writers. He’s written an Op-Ed in the New York Times laying out his case that the feature makes every book on the Kindle an e-Book and an audio book in one. He’s not the only one making this comparison and raising the issue.

That said, I disagree with the premise. At least in its present form I think anyone trying to compare what I’ve heard from the Kindle’s audio feature (admittedly only over the net and not directly) to an audio book is stretching things a bit too far in order to squeeze in on another market. Given that owns Audible (an audio book publisher) I doubt they would be interested in killing off that growing market with the future advances of the audio feature on the Kindle. It just doesn’t make sense.

Mr. Blount complains that the Guild is being assailed for its position and cites one of those complaints from the Electronic Freedom Foundation that “parents everywhere should be on the lookout for legal papers haling them into court for reading to their kids.” He calls the EFF’s statement sarcastic, but I don’t think he helps his own case by stating (in what I hope is sarcasm):

For the record: no, the Authors Guild does not expect royalties from anybody doing non-commercial performances of ““Goodnight Moon.” If parents want to send their children off to bed with the voice of Kindle 2, however, it’s another matter.