Kindles used to support text-to-speech, audiobooks, and MP3 audio files, but the last Kindle to offer those features was the original Kindle Touch that was released nearly 6 years ago now.
It’s amazing how many people got used to having audio features on Kindles. Bringing back audio support is still one of the top requests to this day.
The question continues to come up all the time online, and it’s the first question people ask whenever a new Kindle gets released.
It’s kind of surprising considering the multitude of alternatives for text-to-speech and audiobooks these days.
Six years ago there weren’t nearly as many options, and now Kindles aren’t as good for audio as some other devices because of the smaller battery, limited storage, and higher price, but that still hasn’t stopped people from wanting audio support brought back to Kindles.
Two of the top-voted questions in the customer questions & answers section for the Kindle Voyage ask about audio and text-to-speech, same with one of the top questions for the Kindle Oasis.
Is there any chance that Amazon could bring back audio support on the next new Kindle ereader?
Perhaps if they want to integrate their Alexa voice assistant in Kindles it might just happen.
Amazon has already shown some initiative to bring back some level of audio support with the Kindle Audio Adapter that was released last year, along with the addition of Bluetooth on the entry-level Kindle to use the VoiceView features without the adapter.
That’s an accessibility feature for the visually impaired, however, not true audio support, but it would be easy to add text-to-speech and audiobooks as well.
What do you think? Do you hope the next new Kindle brings back text-to-speech and audio support?
Steve H. says
While it would be nice, I listened to an interview after the Voyage debuted, where a Kindle Exec. expressed the goal of making as light and paperlike as possible. If that stated goal is still the roadmap, audio would add weight that is undesirable.
Hm. I would rather vote for an e-ink writing/drawing option.
Jacinto Hernandez, Melbourne, Australia says
The Kindle exec has s… for brains the technology available today can certainly support TTS better than ever before. As a 61year old I find TTS invaluable. I started to use on early Amazon reader, it was horrible and everyone around me thought I was crazy to tolerate TTS from a kindle.But as far as I was concerned it was so enabling, buses, trains, going to sleep and with a headphone, not even my wife could keep me from enjoying books.Nowadays I use an iPad mini, best voice so far. Even better than Ivona. Still, a lot of polish needs to be done on the read screen feature of the iPads software, as sometimes there are many interruptions when jumping from one chapter to another. I download stories from stories sites and they suffer a lot on TTS as writers have not even begun to consider how their writing sounds on and tablet with TTS sounds like. interruptions. Only ebooks from top writers sound pretty good.
It could have audiobook support and just a 3.5mm jack instead of speakers. That would bring the weight down.
I love my Kindle Touch! Audio support, plus there’s a certain ink-on-paper clarity to the display that I don’t see on the newer models, because of no touch layer and no light guide layer. Not that I don’t like the frontlit models, too…
I think a Bluetooth component wouldn’t add too much weight… I have the entry-level Kindle and it’s very light, almost too light… no heft to it at all.
With audiobooks downloading faster than a cat in a hen house, I think it would profit Amazon to add this feature to all new Kindles 😉
Really the only feature that would make me want to buy a newer Kindle would be the integration of a white noise player. I have a hard time concentrating on my book when there are background conversations going on, or a television playing in the same room. I would love to be able to take public transportation and plug headphones into the Kindle for white noise as needed.
Steve H. says
Probably no one else requesting this…although white noise can help block out the outside world…I use an Android phone app called Noise Machine the has a range of noise between white and brown.
I’m easy….i would upgrade to a new Paperwhite for a nice Flush screen. Not just s piece of glass thrown over the current housing. The text on the Voyage and Oasis look like it laying on top of the screen….instead of a little under it.
My $30 android phone has all the audio capabilities I need so I’d rather not pay more to duplicate them on another device.
What would be nice though is ability to record audio notes in kindle books – typing detailed notes is too tedious, especially in technical or scientific material…
I would pay top dollar for a premium kindle with audible support. Top dollar.
Audible support with speakers and headphone jack and Bluetooth.
I’d go for Bluetooth wireless audio.
Amazon owns audible, and I sometimes need to listen to the book I am reading when I am doing routine chores at home.
Amazon makes this possible if you have Kindle software on your phone, tablet, or computer. I don’t think Audible books can be “read” out loud by Alexa, yet, but I may be mistaken.
Thing is, I’d rather NOT have to switch devices jus to move between reading and listening, and reading on the Kindle is the most pleasant option over phone, tablet or computer.
Speakers on a Kindle would be nice, with the option to listen via Bluetooth device (thus shutting off the speakers) when you don’t want to disturb others.
People tend to forget — it’s the advent of the smart phone, that made audio support in an e-book a lot less useful/desirable.
Someone in this post already said it. — If I want to listen to audio books, I can use my Android smartphone, don’t need this technology duplicated in my e-ink based e-book readers.
My vote is work on making large screen e-ink readers less expensive. That’s what I want in an e-reader. The large Sony e-reader for $250 — I’d buy one in a heart beat when I can get one for $250.
The big advantages of an e-reader over tablets are: the e-ink screen, weight, and battery life. It’s best to focus on what an e-reader is really good at.
All that support, including text to speech, is in the fire tablets. You can open up a book on a fire and somewhere in the settings you can enable text-to-speech playback which is what the older kindles had. One would assume the display type does not matter since you are only listening.
Kindle with TTS and Bluetooth? I’ll buy, even though the portability factor is lacking. Speakers and headphone jacks are less than satisfactory for manual activities. I’m using a Fire phone for Kindle book TTS now and it works well with Bluetooth headphones, but it won’t last forever. I should have stayed with an iPhone for TTS, since I’m now carrying two devices (Android phone and Fire phone) in my pockets.
TTS in the end is just software. No need for an iPhone, can be done just as easily on an Android phone with a good TTS app.
My first reader the Samsung SME-60K reader had TTS (Text to speech)pity Samsung did not carry on developing also has built in stereo speakers. I wish I had kept it.
Do you hope the next new Kindle brings back text-to-speech and audio support?
Yes! It would be fantastic in a larger Kindle ereader and the added weight could be more easily distributed. I have held off purchasing the newer models (since the K3) because they lack TTS and mp3 capability. So I often end up reading and listening using my phone instead but I prefer an ereader for reading.
Id pay top dollar for a kobo aura one with the Kindle logo on it.
Lots of Amazon e-books now offer an “add audible narration” option to the sale. I bet Amazon is working on a way to have ebooks and audiobooks keep track of progress together on a Kindle, in addition to the Fire tablets.
Ingo Lembcke, Hamburg says
Hm, maybe this is a joke, but we already have that from Amazon-Kindle and Audible (belonging to Amazon): Whispersync ?!
Works between Kindle eInk, Kindle for Mac (guess also 4Windows), Audible on iOS / Android, reading online via Amazons Webpage.
Probably also the Fire tablets, I do not own one of those.
Yep, I know about Whispersync. But so far you can’t do it all on one e-ink reader.
Definitely! they may make it bluetooth only so they wont even need to thicken the kindle for the audio jack. Audible is really good on the phone but wouldnt it be great if you could have all your ebooks and audiobooks in the same place? It would benefit the visually impaired too! Also, many people who read english books while english is their second launguage may even buy the book and the audiobook to get better at ther pronunciation, vocabulary and sentence formation.
I have only been buying reconditioned Kindle touch or keyboard because of the lack of audio jack and TTS on the ereaders. I would love to have a paperwhite that had an audio jack that worked as easy as the older ones do for audio. I know they have ones with adapters, but you can’t plug them in and listen if your battery is low. From what I have been reading, I will be waiting a long time for something that may never be released.