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Text to Speech

Using text to speech software with text based eBooks is very straight forward and can be used to read an ebook through a computer’s sound card. eSpeak available from http://espeak.sourceforge.net/ is an open source text to speech synthesizer, which has voices for multiple languages. After it is installed, a command can be used to invoke the synthesizer on a text file and read it back to the user through the sound card.

espeak -v en -f <text file> (for Windows)

A user can copy a page at a time to the same text file, overwriting the previous to listen to the publication content in small controlled units.

eSpeak is available for Mac, Linux, Windows and Windows Mobile and can used in similar ways on each platform. eSpeak could be installed on a lightweight laptop as mentioned above to further complement functionality as an eBook reader. eSpeak running under Windows Mobile on a Windows based smartphone or Pocket PC is a bit tricky to use, but an interface could be designed using .Net or Java (J2ME) to make it more straight forward to listen to a text file.

eSpeak can also be used to convert a text file to an audio file. These audio files could be stored on an mp3 player or mobile phone or device, which supports audio playback.