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Fire TV Will Soon Read Your Kindle eBooks to You

AmazonFireTVHomeScreenOn Tuesday Amazon announced plans to add new Alexa voice features to the Fire TV. Soon you will be able to talk to your set top box and have Amazon’s virtual digital assistant play videos, search for info on local businesses and restaurants, launch apps, check the weather, and more.

And it’s that "more" more which has me interested today. At the bottom of the new features list is a mention that you will be able to have Alexa read your Kindle ebooks to you through the Fire TV.

All you have to do is use the command "read", followed by the title of an ebook in your library, and you will soon be listening to Alexa.

You can find a list of voice commands for reading Kindle books with Alexa on the Amazon website.

Strange, isn’t it? Amazon is showing no interest in adding a standalone TTS feature to its Kindle ereaders, but they have added a similar feature to first the Echo, and now the Fire TV.

Although, this is as much an accessibility feature as it is straight TTS.  It almost makes more sense for the visually impaired or the blind to use Alexa’a voice command features with the Fire TV or an Echo than use a Kindle.

The latter has a 6 hour battery life and requires plugging in a dongle to a Kindle, while the Echo can read ebooks to you from across the room. Assuming, that is, that you’re in the same room as the Echo. If you’re on the go then the Kindle wins by default.

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Amazon’s Fire TV will soon read e-books aloud via Alexa – TeleRead News: E-books, publishing, tech and beyond May 17, 2016 um 1:48 pm

[…] The Digital Reader, Nate Hoffelder is bemused that Amazon is ignoring the e-ink Kindle while adding text-to-speech to pretty much every other […]

Vonda Z May 17, 2016 um 5:36 pm

I know they included this feature in the announcement about being able to launch apps, movies, and TV shows with voice control, but the FireTV has always had the ability to read your kindle books to you via text to speech. To make sure I wasn’t going crazy, I just tried it on my 1st gen FireTV and it worked as expected (reading Heart Shaped Box from my kindle library using text to speech).

Vonda Z May 17, 2016 um 5:40 pm

To clarify – I meant it has had this ability since the Alexa update – but to be honest, I am not sure if it was available since day 1 of that update or came along later. I really just know that it can already do this.

Nate Hoffelder May 17, 2016 um 5:41 pm

Well that’s weird. Why was this in the announcement then?

I’ll go ask.

Thanks for pointing that out!

Darryl May 17, 2016 um 11:36 pm

I think as Alexa develops the question with functionality on a particular device is going to be "why not" for any feature supported by Alexa.

Syn May 18, 2016 um 2:14 am

'If you’re on the go then the Kindle wins by default.'

If you have wifi, oe wireless tethering, you can take Amazon Tap with you. I had Alexa read a Kindle book to me on an out of town drive last week. Worked great.

?tiri livre?ti #12 – May 23, 2016 um 12:13 am

[…] Cum ar fi dac? propriul t?u TV ?i-ar citi c?r?ile de pe Kindle? Amazon vrea s? fac? asta posibil. […]

John Lord March 23, 2018 um 12:45 am

Alexa reads the books using TTS (Text To Speech) which is fine for reading news texts, but awful for reading stories where the reader needs to hear expressiveness in the voice and audio clues as to who is speaking. Audible narration does that. Text to Speech does not. The Kindle app for iOS and Android both have the ability to perform "immersion reading" which highlights and moves through the Kindle ebook text while reading aloud using the professional narrations from Audible audiobooks. THIS is how it should be done! Amazon NEEDS to port the Kindle app to the Fire TV, Firestick, and would be well advised to also port it to devices like the Roku and Netgear NeoTV and Samsung app stores. They also need to add immersion reading capability to the Kindle for PC app that’s in the Microsoft Store. That they have not done so, has only made some of us resort to workarounds like the BlueStacks Android emulator for Windows so they can then run the Kindle for Android app within Bluestacks on their Windows PC to use immersion reading that way. They MIGHT even consider porting Kindle with immersion reading capability to Linux. For now, some users will use RaspiCast to cast the screen from their phone to their Raspberry Pi screen while running Kindle immersion reading on their phone. This will get it to the larger screen and with the Audible narration. In short every way of immersion reading that Amazon is NOT providing, already has a workaround. They may as well start putting Kindle with immersion reading everywhere. People (with impaired vision or not) will enjoy the ability to read and listen to their books. They’d BETTER do this before Google does it with their books. Meanwhile Coolreader and Calibre could already read ebooks aloud using TTS. It still sounds like a robot voice with no emotion or expression.

Colly March 25, 2018 um 3:12 am

Too late and too little. Alexa "reading" the text from a Kindle book using TTS is a dismal experience for avid readers, as I’ve already heard from my Echo Dot. The Audible narration audiobook companions to the Kindle ebooks are as to Alexa’s text-to-speech, as IMAX movies in color to black & white 8mm home movies. Today I am ALREADY using a spare HDMI monitor with the Amazon Firestick to WATCH and LISTEN to a Kindle ebook using IMMERSION READING with the Audible narration companion. All I had to do was install the "AirReceiver" app from either the Google or Amazon app store. Then, on my Android phone, I use the Google Home app’s hamburger menu in the upper left and choose "Cast screen / audio". With the Google Cast option enabled in AirReceiver settings, the Android phone can be mirrored on the Firestick. Once the phone’s screen is being mirrored on the Firestick TV, I start my Kindle for Android on my phone and begin immersion reading. On the TV, the Kindle book is automatically read along with the professional Audible companion narration (for books that have it).
Amazon should have ALREADY made Kindle reader apps WITH IMMERSION READING available on their TV’s, their Firesticks, and for Windows 10! But they haven’t. I’m essentially using a Google cast feature on my phone to send to my firestick using a 3rd party app that can receive Google cast on the firestick.

Colly February 18, 2020 um 3:50 am

This also never came to pass:

Is there some sort of conspiracy going on to try to keep ebooks from EVER being readable on TV’s?
Could advertisers be pressuring Amazon, Google, OverDrive to PREVENT making ebooks available on TV’s because ebooks are typically being read by people who HATE COMMERCIAL INTERRUPTIONS?

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