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How do I love thee, Kindle Text-to-Speech? Let me count the ways.

Kindle Text-to-Speech
How do I love thee, Kindle Text-to-Speech? Let me count the ways. I have named thee, with a little help from an eyebrow-raising Significant Other who may a time or two have looked askance as I rolled over and donned my headphones of an evening. I have named my Kindle’s voice Ursula. This imagined creature may or may not be disembodied, but she never seems to tire of reading to me, talking to me, entertaining me. When it’s just me, my headphones, and Ursula, of course, it’s all about me.
I will admit it: I love listening to newspaper, magazine, and blog articles, including my daily Instapaper dispatch, in the robot-speak of Ursula’s Kindle Text-to-Speech. Originally I was resistant to listening to books with Kindle Text-to-Speech, but Ursula aims to please. Her voices and pronunciations have been upgraded over time by Kindle’s Text-to-Speech partner, Nuance Communications, and I have grown accustomed to listening with comfort, enjoyment, and enrichment as she reads me free and paid books purchased in the Kindle Store, downloaded from the websites mentioned in this book, or sent to me by authors and publishers interested in having their work considered for Kindle Nation Daily sponsorships programs.
With the exception of those Kindle Store books whose publishers have specifically opted out of Kindle Text-to-Speech — and shame on them! — Kindle Text-to-Speech will read aloud to you from any book, newspaper, magazine, blog, manuscript, dramatic script, memorandum or other file that you can get onto your Kindle Home screen.
I’ve even sent recipes to my Kindle so that Ursula could read aloud to me while I was preparing Potage Parmentier in the kitchen.
And please don’t tell the Massachusetts state troopers, but I have even sent driving directions to my Kindle so that it could read them aloud to me in my car. I’ve gotten handy at using the space bar to pause the read-aloud process, but I run into problems if a segment of my trip is longer than 15 minutes, because Ursula does have a tendency to doze off beside me if she goes that long without speaking. Alas, now that we’ve heard the horror stories of Kindle owners being arrested for having an open Kindle in the car while driving, I must ask you to destroy this page of the Kindle edition of your book immediately after you read it. A Kindle, apparently, is every bit as dangerous to highway safety as an open bottle of beer.
But that’s just the beginning. Don’t tell Ursula, but there’s more, much more. To learn about Kindle’s other free audio features, check out Chapter 9 of Kindle Free for All, just 99 cents in the Kindle Store or $7.99 in paperback.

A Tip for Kindle Owners with Access to an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch: Thousands of Free, High Quality Audiobook Readings

I know I’ve posted before about great sources of read-aloud books that will play on your Kindle, and there’s an entire chapter on this in my bestselling book, The Complete User’s Guide To the Amazing Amazon Kindle 2: Tips, Tricks, & Links To Unlock Cool Features & Save You Hundreds on Kindle Content, but I just posted about another great service for the first time over at our sister site iPad Nation Daily: Enjoying eBooks with iPad, iPhone, or Touch, and I wanted to share the link with Kindle Nation citizens right away.

The bottom line: Audiobooks has a great app runs anywhere from free to 99 cents for folks who have access to an iPad, an iPhone, or an iPod Touch.

For more information about its user-friendly features and easy access to over 3,000 free classics in over a dozen language, presented by talented readers, check out this post:

iPad Nation Daily Free Books Alert for Thursday, April 22: A High-Quality Audiobooks App and Thousands of Free Books Read Aloud to You on Your iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch


Christmas on Your Kindle!

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Originally posted to Kindle Nation Daily © Kindle Nation Daily 2009 http://kindlehomepage.blogspot.com/
Okay, you’ve just placed your last-minute orders for Kindles for all your loved ones, with Amazon’s nifty free one-day shipping deal for Kindle orders in the continental US.

You’re full of the Christmas spirit, and all you are lacking is some great Christmas music, and all that’s left in your checking account is five bucks.
Not to worry.
You can use that last $5 to download The 99 Most Essential Christmas Masterpieces now, exclusively from Amazon, and within minutes be listening — right on your Kindle! — to the tracks you choose from nearly six hours of great music. 
The Kindle MP3 player plays music and podcasts in non-DRM .mp3 format. While it might be nice if you can purchase such content and have it sent wirelessly to your Kindle, audio file sizes and transfer speeds make this unlikely. However, it’s easier and cheaper than you may think to purchase reading-friendly background music, transfer it to your Kindle, and start listening.
While it’s possible to purchase the individual tracks for 89 cents each, you can spend a total of $5.00 and get all 99 tracks, ranging in length from under a minute to longer than 16 minutes, just by clicking on the orange “Buy MP3 album with 1-click” button near the upper-right corner of your computer screen. Amazon will begin downloading the album almost immediately, perhaps after asking you to enable the Amazon downloader tool to work on your computer if you haven’t done so already. Keep track of where your computer saves the album download. This will usually be in a folder or directory called “Music” that is associated with your default audio program such as iTunes or Windows Media Player.
Once the album downloads to your computer, plug your Kindle into your computer via the USB cable. From within your computer’s “Finder” or “My Computer” feature, locate the music files that were just downloaded, select the tracks that you want to copy to your Kindle, and pick them up with the Copy command. (Important Note: Remember that audio files require more storage capacity than text, and don’t overdo it. I recommend that you choose a dozen or two of the tracks you think you’ll enjoy the most and copy them rather than trying to store all 99 tracks on your Kindle!) 
Next, go to the Kindle folder from your computer’s “Finder” or “My Computer” structure, open it, and then open the subfolder called “music” Use your system’s Paste command to paste the music tracks into your Kindle’s “music” folder, eject the Kindle from your computer, and you are ready to enjoy some nice background music as you read. Just press Home to go to the Kindle 2 Home screen, press Menu, then use the 5-way to select “Experimental” and “Play MP3” from the next two menus that appear on your Kindle display. 

(Note:  Alternatively, if you’d prefer to listen to tracks one at a time with greater control of your Kindle’s playback, copy them to your Kindle’s “audible” folder rather than the “music” folder.)