So the Kindle Audio Adapter that I ordered finally arrived yesterday. I’ve been testing it out on my new Kindle Oasis, which secretly already had the needed audio files preinstalled.
Unfortunately it’s a bit disappointing how Amazon chose to implement the new audio features on Kindles. The whole thing is setup as an accessibility feature only. We already knew that music and audiobooks wouldn’t be supported with the Kindle Audio Adapter, and it turns out that you cannot even use text-to-speech independently from the screen reading VoiceView feature either.
It’s quite frustrating and limiting. It makes operating the Kindle much slower and repetitious.
The screen reading VoiceView feature reads everything aloud, not just the text from the book, and it forces you to use the Kindle as if you can’t see the screen.
To navigate and make selections you have to swipe to scroll or tap icons on the screen, wait a second for it to highlight it and tell you what it is, then tap twice to activate. For some annoying reason you can’t even scroll through selections using the page buttons.
The screen reading features are nice if you have vision problems but if you’re just a regular person that wants to use text-to-speech it gets annoying real fast.
Text-to-speech works much better on Fire tablets, even the super cheap entry-level Fire, which is only $30 more than the ridiculously overpriced Kindle Audio Adapter.
Fire tablets also have the screen reading VoiceView accessibility feature, but Fire tablets let you use text-to-speech independently without having VoiceView active and turned on.
With Fire tablets you just have to tap the little play icon on the menu while reading and text-to-speech starts reading your book aloud, no awkward dongle required. Plus there are a bunch of additional voices that can be downloaded; on Kindles there is only the one default voice.
The Kindle Audio Adapter is made specifically for blind and visually disabled people. It does not bring text-to-speech back to Kindles in the way many people had expected. It’s an accessibility tool only. For actual text-to-speech support the Fire tablet is a much better (and cheaper) option.