A new update rolled out and, now, Amazon Echo’s Alexa reads Kindle books out loud for those who want to hear one of their favorite books in the digital assistant’s voice. Granted, she will not be the best narrator in the world, and it’s rather certain she won’t be doing the voices, but it’s still an option.
After Amazon purchased the world’s most popular audiobook service in the world, Audible, it was likely expected. However, Audible’s excellent services arrive with a price to have your favorite narrator read out your books. On Amazon Echo, Alexa will do them for free, although the quality will certainly differ.
It seems that the company is pushing for their famed Echo device to become a bigger part of people’s lives. It’s WiFi and Bluetooth enabled, along with a great in-home smart things controller, and providing traffic or weather reports. It could go from a simple device with outside information, to playing music, and, now, to reading you books.
According to the major e-commerce company, Alexa will be able to read Kindle books from your own library or those you have borrowed. All you have to do is say “Alexa, read [insert book title here]” and the device will start reading. One service that Audible offers that Echo does not is that it allows the user to skip chapters. For the digital personal assistant, you will have to manually go to the preferred chapters or tell her “Skip chapter” until you reached the desired one.
The service will also not read every single book under the sun. However, only a handful of them will not be available. Alexa will promptly announce when that is the case.
Users will also be able to instruct the digital personal assistant to pause in her reading to then resume when they’re ready. It can read other things, such as Wikipedia entries or news articles, which might be the more preferred option. While Echo’s service is free, it cannot stand shoulder to shoulder with the rehearsed voices of actual human beings. That is, unless the artificial and robotic voice is something you would prefer.
The new capability is unlikely to attract new customers to Amazon’s Echo. However, perhaps existing users could make use of the new function. It’s a nice touch, and likely holds promise for the text-to-speech technology that has been integrated into the device. Perhaps, one day, there will be more improvements which might actually make Alexa a pleasant narrator.
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