March 4, 2009

This just in: Amazon does something reasonable


“In a surprising about-face,” Amazon has decided to allow publishers and authors to determine whether Kindle 2 users can use the “text-to-speech” function to hear an audio version of an ebook. As Jim Milliot reports in this Publishers Weekly story, the feature had drawn intense criticism from the Authors Guild, among others, “which maintained that the feature was an unauthroized use of audio rights.” As Milliot notes, “Amazon’s move came as a surprise since the company rarely reverses a policy once it is in place, keeping such practices as selling used books to forcing publishers to use BookSurge for print-on-demand or risk losing the buy button on a title.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.