A few days ago, I mentioned how the pressure was mounting on Amazon to make changes to its Read-To-Me feature on Kindle 2.0. Since the day Kindle 2.0 was introduced, a few people were making the case against Read-To-Me and its legality. It seems Amazon has finally caved in and decided to make software changes necessary to empower publishers and authors to choose if they want Read-To-Me enabled for their titles. In essence, if you are an author, and you do not like folks listening to your book on their Kindle, you can just disable the feature.
On the surface, this doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Amazon is allowing the authors to claim the audio rights for their books. And Read-To-Me still remains on Kindle 2.0.Â But we have been here before with Adobe. This decision doesn’t kill Read-To-Me, but it pushes it to the brink. The audio that you hear on Kindle is very much different from what you get in a professionally made audio-book. But Amazon has decided that it does not want to deal with the legal ramifications of leaving Read-To-Me as it is. While many authors may leave the feature enabled for their readers, I suspect a lot of folks see this as an opportunity to make more money. There is nothing wrong with making money from your work, but Authors Guild decision to challenge Read-to-Me shows how our legal system hinders innovation. Instead of attacking the Kindle, maybe these guys need to focus more on providing more value with their audio-books.
Your take: did Amazon do the right thing by putting the ball in the publishers’ court? Should Amazon offer partial refunds to Kindle 2.0 owners?