Amazon Echo Gains Ability To Read Kindle eBooks

Wouldn't it be rad (yes, I said rad) if James Lipton was always on call to provide a dramatic reading of a novel? I'd also be delighted to sit back and listen to James Earl Jones narrate a grisly tale, or Morgan Freeman read just about anything, even a telephone book. Perhaps they'd be willing for the right amount of coin, but in lieu of what's probably not attainable, Alexa, the voice of Amazon's Echo speaker, will happily read from your collection of Kindle books.

"With Kindle Books by Alexa, you can ask Alexa to read Kindle books in your library. Alexa reads books purchased from the Kindle Store, borrowed from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library or Kindle Unlimited, or shared with you using Family Library," Amazon explains in a support document. "Alexa reads your Kindle books with the same text-to-speech technology used for Wikipedia articles, news articles, and calendar events."

Amazon Echo

You can issue commands like:
  • Alexa, read "[Kindle book title]"
  • Alexa, ready my Kindle book
  • Alexa, pause
  • Alexa, resume my book
  • Alexa, go forward / back

Unlike hiring a famous actor with a memorizing voice to read your books (John Malkovich and Scarlett Johansson are two more names that comes to mind), Alexa will perform the service free of charge and at your convenience. The catch, of course, is that listening to Alexa inevitably means that certain nuances in language will go ignored, but again, it's a free function.

Memory is in Alexa's favor. No, not memory as in DRAM, but her ability to remember where you left off in a book, courtesy of Amazon's Whispersync for Voice technology. That includes jumping from device to device -- you can listen to a Kindle book on your smartphone during a lunch break at work and then resume where you left off later that evening on your tablet.

Pretty neat, don't you think?