In addition to serving as your connection to Amazon’s vast inventory of products, Amazon Echo can now also read your Kindle books to you.
And unlike Amazon’s service Audible, which provides audiobooks for a monthly fee, the book reading service from Amazon Echo is free of charge.
Called Kindle Books by Alexa, the service allows the robotic voice of Alexa to read any book in your Kindle ebook library. According to an Amazon update note, the service uses the “same text-to-speech technology used for Wikipedia articles.”
That means you won’t get the same kind of color and drama you’d expect from a book on Audible, but as a free service, it’s likely to be pretty popular with some non-Audible users.
To get Alexa reading, you simply utter one of the following phrases: Alexa, read “[Kindle book title],” or “Alexa, read my Kindle book.”
If you want to interrupt the reading, you just tell Alexa to “pause,” and when you’re ready to listen again you say, “resume my book.” You can also tell Alexa to go “forward” or “back” while reading any of your books.
The feature was revealed in a recent Amazon newsletter and surfaced last week by AFTVnews.
To get readers without any ebooks started, Amazon is offering a free Star Wars ebook sampler with excerpts from six novels from the new Star Wars book series.