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New Kindle for PC Software Has Text to Speech

by Paul Nisbet

on Tue May 31, 2011

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The Kindle for PC Accessibility Plugin is now available for UK customers (and also for users in Australia, Canada and the U.S.). Kindle for PC is free software for reading Kindle eBooks on your Windows PC. The main feature of the new plugin is a text-to-speech tool which means that blind, visually impaired and severely dyslexic readers can listen to the book being read out by the computer. Kindle for PC Accessibility plugin has:

  • Text-to-speech reading with adjustable voice settings
  • Voice-guided menu navigation
  • Large font sizes
  • High contrast reading mode
  • Keyboard navigation
  • Accessible shortcuts

The Kindle reader software can be used to read out the text of the book, and blind readers can use Jaws or NVDA to read the menus and navigation instructions.

The software comes with two American voices - one male and one female - which are OK but not as good as Heather, for example. You can start, pause and stop the speech and read the current, previous or next sentences (see the list of shortcuts below). You can't use other voices on your computer with the Kindle software, and it doesn't highlight the text as it reads.

Like the standard Kindle reader, the font size can be massive (up to about 90pt), and you can change the colours (white on black, black on white, black on sepia).

For keyboard only users, there are keyboard shortcuts to navigate around the software and the eBooks.

The new Kindle reader is a significant step towards making commercial eBooks accessible for readers with print disabilities. There are now over 700,000 books available from the Amazon UK website and so it's a huge source of digital books.

I've updated our Kindle Quick Guide with the new features and you can now download it.

Tags: dyslexia, literacy, visual impairment, print disability

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