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Would the Developing World Use E-Readers More Than Laptops? 155

Barence writes "Stuart Turton writes about how the local children reacted to his Kindle on a recent visit to the Nagpur region of India. 'About 20 kids stood in a big group, just watching me: big eyes, curious expressions, ridiculously cute and all intent on the Kindle,' he writes. 'Just turning the page caused them to drag their friends over, and there's no reality where changing the font size of your book should make you cooler than a Jimmy Hendrix guitar solo. That was just the warm-up act though; it was the text-to-speech feature that pretty much made me the best friend of the entire village. A charity could do a lot worse than to load a few up with dictionaries, school books and novels and send them to some remote schools in developing nations,' he observes."
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Would the Developing World Use E-Readers More Than Laptops?

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  • by ciaran_o_riordan ( 662132 ) on Monday February 21, 2011 @02:33PM (#35270072) Homepage

    Better than text-to-speech: http://librivox.org/ [librivox.org]

    It's a project where volunteers make audio books of public domain works. So you get a real reading rather than a robotic best effort.

    I hope free software projects combine this with the public domain texts to make cool materials for people (kids and adults) learning languages.

  • Re:Text to speech (Score:4, Informative)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Monday February 21, 2011 @02:49PM (#35270294)

    It does a good job of reading the text in an intelligible manner - it does a pretty good job of correctly pronouncing English words (names and other unusual words are sometimes mispronounced).

    However, i wouldn't count on it as a replacement for books on tape. Human readers use pauses, tone of voice, reading speed, etc to help convey what was written. The Text to Speech reader is monotone and always reads at the same pace (which is configurable for fast/medium/slow).

    Here's an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsnCwQTqbzM [youtube.com]

  • by Chalex ( 71702 ) on Monday February 21, 2011 @02:57PM (#35270396) Homepage

    You are confusing the hardware device with the Amazon service. Amazon has gone to great pains to make it super-easy to buy things from their bookstore directly on the device, and manage those purchases on your device through the Amazon website.

    But the device itself is a regular e-reader, you can put files on it via USB and manage them via the filesystem or an app like Calibre. And Amazon does not manage books on the device except the ones that you buy through the Amazon service.

    Most people who complain about the Kindle have never even used one.

    So to address these complaints directly: 1. "sharing" a book is a feature of Amazon's DRMed service. It doesn't apply to regular e-books. 2. They promised they'd never delete a book from a person's account again again. And again, that only applies to DRMed books purchased through Amazon.

    I tend to get my books from Project Gutenberg or manybooks.net and then manage them via USB with Calibre. You could load most of Project Gutenberg on a Kindle and send it to a place without network (but with electricity) and it would be much better than sending them trunkfuls of books.

  • by Qubit ( 100461 ) on Monday February 21, 2011 @03:27PM (#35270704) Homepage Journal

    worldreader.org [worldreader.org] has this mission:

    Our mission is to put a library of books into the hands of children and families in the developing world with e-reader technology.

    (disclosure: A friend of mine from College is on the team)

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court