On Amazon Echo’s new Feature

I don’t have an Amazon Echo device. I’m even a little surprised that it’s as popular as it is. It isn’t much different from what smartphones can do. But now Amazon is trying to improve the device as time goes on, and I think they’re doing just that.

Alexa (the device’s name) will now be able to read any of your Kindle books to you. Her voice may not be quite the same as a voice actor reading an audio book, but there’s no subscription needed. It’s completely free.

Free is always nice to hear, especially when you see the prices of individual audio books or an Audible subscription. I think Amazon is on to something. I don’t use my Kindle and I don’t listen to audio books, but millions of readers enjoy both.

Do you have an Amazon Echo? What do you think of Alexa now being able to read Kindle Books?

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11 thoughts on “On Amazon Echo’s new Feature

  1. I don’t have a Kindle, I have a Kobo. Since Kobo is a Canadian company and I live in Canada I am supporting our economy. Plus there’s the whole copyrights issue that arose shortly after Kindle came out *shrug*.
    However, if Kobo had a program that would read to me? I think I would absolutely love it! I don’t drive long enough at a stretch usually to warrant regular audio books, so I would be able to listen as I drove to and from work, read regularly when I wanted to, and not have to switch between books.

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  2. I don’t have the Echo because I simply don’t need it. It’s superfluous when I have other things that can do what Echo can. But it’s a nice feature to add. I wouldn’t mind it, myself, since I can’t stand listening to audiobooks when the orators try to take on the character voices. I’d much rather have the type from Echo where it’s all in one voice.

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  3. I have an Echo, and it’s mostly good for playing music while you clean/have parties/just want to chill. You can tell it to play pretty much anything in your library or in the Prime library and the speaker quality is excellent. Way better than a Smartphone. I got the Echo for only $99 too, so for that alone, it was worth it. Especially considering how much stereos cost in the 80s πŸ˜›

    However, I did purchase it knowing that it was basically a prototype and hoping that it would expand its features as time went on. So I think this is a nice addition. I might use it. The Echo also can control smart home devices like light bulbs and thermostats, and we’re planning on switching our home to those devices at some point too. Still, I wish Echo was more knowledge-based and that she had GPS. She can’t do web searches and she can’t tell you if there’s any traffic on the way to work, etc. Hopefully those features will be added in time.

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    • You mostly use it to listen to music? Did you not think of buying a Bluetooth speaker instead? I have no smart devices in my house, but I’m pretty sure those can be controlled by apps on a smartphone. Eh. I just don’t see any use for the Echo.

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      • I mainly bought it because I figured the capabilities would expand in the future. I do have a couple Bluetooth speakers and the quality isn’t even comparable…except for my TV sound bar which far exceeded $99 and is usually already in use on the TV. And they require your phone to use, which the Echo doesn’t. She responds to voice activation, which I like, and she automatically pulls from the music library I use most often. If I didn’t ever use Amazon Music I can see why a Bluetooth speaker would be easier though. Because that would be a pain to set up from scratch.

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      • Hmm. Well I also don’t listen to music much outside my car. So eh.

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  4. I got the Echo for Christmas and it took some getting used to. I listen to audio books, when I do listen to them, in my car. But I looked into Audible and forget it. I read way too much for those prices. I haven’t tried listening on Echo. But Alexa’s voice is already too Artificial Intelligence for me. I. Not sure I can take it. They are adding features to it constantly and I like most of them. When I got the Echo I wrote the blog below about it. If anyone is interested. John, what do your customers say about audio books? Do you sell them in your bookstore?

    http://saneteachers.com/2015/12/29/does-21st-century-technology-encourage-illiteracy/

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    • I e read your post already. And I don’t know what they say, but we do sell them. We get a few from customers selling them back to us and we get plenty of them through our own distribution network. They are priced pretty high, but customers definitely buy them.

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      • If you (meaning one) takes advantage of even a few of the offerings, I think the price is worth it. I’m just not a sit in my house and listen to audio books type of person. Exercise regimes, listening to news briefs, music weather, jokes, that’s what I use it for right now. I’m going to try one of the kindle books, buy if I do listen to an audio book, I’m guessing an actor would sound better. Good dialog with everyone, John.

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