Tag archives: amazon

Embarrassing Kindle 2 Flaw

The Kindle 2 was my first e-book reader. Excited to test its much hyped features, I purchased several items from Amazon’s Kindle Store, including Stephen Hawking’s A Briefer History of Time e-book. I wasn’t too thrilled with Kindle’s disjointed Text-to-Speech synthesizer. So, I purchased the professionally narrated version of Hawking’s masterpiece from Amazon’s Audible Store.

Amazon advertises Kindle’s ability to playback audio files while reading e-books. I really wanted to read my new e-book while simultaneously listening to the audiobook. I followed Kindle’s instructions to copy the Audible .aax file to my Kindle via the USB cable. Success! I could hear the professionally narrated version Hawking’s best-seller.

Now, to read along. But wait…I can’t hear the e-book anymore! Kindle’s User Guide says that Alt-Space and Alt-F control the background audio playback while reading an e-book. To my surprise, these keystrokes have no effect.

Thirty minutes later, I gave up and called Amazon Kindle Support. At last, “Chris C.”, a Kindle Specialist, was able to understand my problem. He suggested that I move the .aax file from the Kindle “Audible folder” to the “music folder.” This, however, caused the Kindle to no longer recognize the audiobook. He then concluded that I would need to convert the .aax file to an .mp3 file. He casually noted, however, that neither Audible nor Kindle has a direct mechanism to do this. In other words, I was out of luck. I can’t listen to Amazon Audible files while reading on my Kindle 2.

Is that fair? Should consumers have the burden of making Amazon’s Kindle operable with Amazon’s Audible files? Your thoughts are always appreciated.