Amazon retreats slightly on the Kindle

Readability

Amazon retreats slightly on the Kindle

Score one for the pub­lish­ers:

Ama­zon real­ized the mag­ni­tude of the con­trac­tual prob­lem,” Aiken said Mon­day morn­ing. “Many of the author’s pub­lish­ing con­tracts give pub­lish­ers the right to pub­lish e-​books, but only with­out enhanc­ing audio. A rea­son­able read­ing of those con­tracts shows that pub­lish­ers didn’t have the author­ity to sell e-​books for use in a Kin­dle device with audio enhancement.”

An Ama­zon spokesman denied being pushed into Friday’s deci­sion. As for whether con­trac­tual issues played a part, the spokesman repeated what the com­pany said Fri­day: “Kin­dle 2’s exper­i­men­tal text-​to-​speech fea­ture is legal.”

Aiken began crit­i­ciz­ing Ama­zon soon after the Kin­dle 2’s debut last month. He argued that the retailer was vio­lat­ing the author’s copy­right and was cut­ting them out of a poten­tially new and lucra­tive market.

On Fri­day, Ama­zon announced it would recon­fig­ure the Kin­dle 2’s sys­tems to allow pub­lish­ers to dis­able the text-​to-​speech func­tion for titles of their choos­ing. How­ever, the retailer made it clear in the announce­ment that it believed text-​to-​speech did not vio­late copyright.

Ama­zon may be the big fish in the pool but they don’t own the lake.

Score one for the publishers:

“Amazon realized the magnitude of the contractual problem,” Aiken said Monday morning. “Many of the author’s publishing contracts give publishers the right to publish e-books, but only without enhancing audio. A reasonable reading of those contracts shows that publishers didn’t have the authority to sell e-books for use in a Kindle device with audio enhancement.”

An Amazon spokesman denied being pushed into Friday’s decision. As for whether contractual issues played a part, the spokesman repeated what the company said Friday: “Kindle 2’s experimental text-to-speech feature is legal.”

Aiken began criticizing Amazon soon after the Kindle 2’s debut last month. He argued that the retailer was violating the author’s copyright and was cutting them out of a potentially new and lucrative market.

On Friday, Amazon announced it would reconfigure the Kindle 2’s systems to allow publishers to disable the text-to-speech function for titles of their choosing. However, the retailer made it clear in the announcement that it believed text-to-speech did not violate copyright.

Amazon may be the big fish in the pool but they don’t own the lake.