Amazon has added the ability for Alexa on the Amazon Echo to read text-based Kindle books out loud. The new feature uses text-to-speech to read books with Alexa’s regular artificial voice, so it’s not a perfect listening experience, but handy if you want to get a few chapter read without stopping what you’re doing. It works with books you’ve purchased from the Kindle Store, borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library or Kindle Unlimited, or shared with you in your Family Library. Not all books support the new feature, and it’s currently not available on Fire TV devices. To see which books in your library can be read out loud by Alexa, go to the new “Kindle Books” section of the Alexa app or web portal. You can start a book from there, or simply say “Alexa, read my book, [TITLE]” to start listening to a book. You can say “Skip Back/Ahead”, “Go Back/Forward”, or “Next/Previous” to go to the previous or next paragraph.
Along the same theme, Amazon has improved the Audible audiobook playback functionality of Alexa, which is available on both the Echo and Fire TVs. You can now skip ahead or backwards in a book by saying “next/previous chapter.” You can also jump directly to a specific chapter by saying “go to chapter [NUMBER].”
This is so awesome – it opens up so many possibilities! Now every book that exists will now have an audiobook version, which means so many more books that were inaccessible to people who can’t read well will now be accessible for them. Plus now I’ll have a lot more options for books to listen to when I’m driving.