Does Kindle Read to You? Yes, Here's How

I love listening to podcasts and I wanted my Kindle to read my books to me.

After doing some research, I understood that it's indeed possible to make my Kindle read to me.

So with this article, I explain a quite underrated feature of Kindle, i.e., its ability to read books aloud.

Kindle can read books aloud by utilizing the VoiceView Screen Reader feature in the accessibility settings. Older Kindles such as the Kindle Keyboard have a built-in Text-to-Speech feature, whereas the Kindle app on iOS and Android and the Kindle Fire tablets can utilize the Immersion reading feature to let the device read books aloud.

Kindle app for Windows and Mac computers does not have a read-aloud feature.

How to Make Kindle Read to You

How to Make Kindle Read to You

Kindle devices unfortunately do not have a native solution to make read aloud your books.

But there is a feature that enables a similar functionality, albeit with a slightly harsh convenience curve.

VoiceView Screen Reader is an accessibility feature bundled in on newer Kindle devices, that is basically intended for users with a hand disability.

Enabling this feature will turn on the Bluetooth of the Kindle, with which you can pair an external Bluetooth headphone or speaker.

After successful pairing, the device will go into an accessibility mode where it will automatically read out your books via your connected Bluetooth device.

The text-to-speech engine of Kindle is quite rudimentary compared to current standards, but it is still serviceable enough for listening to books.

To enable VoiceView Screen Reader on your Kindle device, follow the steps below:

  • Turn on your Bluetooth device and pair it with your Kindle.
  • After a successful pairing, tap on the right three-dot menu icon to open the side menu bar.
Kindle Menu bar
  • Tap on Settings.
  • Tap on Accessibility.
  • Tap on VoiceView Screen Reader and turn it on.

Since this is an accessibility feature, it does come with its fair share of inconvenience as well.

For one, you will have to rely on a gesture-based navigation system that highlights each individual function on the screen.

Here is a brief chart on the navigation that you might need to get used to when using this mode:

A single tap on the screenSelect word.
Pause voice reading/ continuous reading mode.
Draw L on the screenStart continuous reading mode.
Swipe left or rightScroll through adjacent selections.
Double tapConfirm option.
Gestures supported for VoiceView Screen Reader

Kindle does give you options to increase or decrease the speech output rate directly from the Kindle menu.

Once the voice-over narration starts, the Kindle will automatically follow through the book and change pages when necessary with a click.

You could further spice things up with this feature by pairing your Kindle up with an Alexa device. Sync an Echo device with the Kindle to make Alexa read Digital books to you.

Turning off the VoiceView Screen Reader can be a chore, considering the snail's pace of navigation. A hack to get over this is to simply turn off Bluetooth after use.

Here's a video walkthrough from us that'll help you configure your Kindle to read out books to you,

How to Make Kindle Read to You

How to Make Older Kindle Devices Read to You

How to make older Kindle devices read to you

Surprisingly, older Kindle devices like the Kindle Keyboard and Kindle Touch actually had a built-in text-to-speech feature.

In fact, they even had a speaker and headphone jack built-in to aid this feature.

This is one of the primary reasons the older models are still in ripe demand, and users of these models refrain from upgrading their arsenal.

To enable the text-to-speech feature on older Kindle devices, follow the steps below:

  • Press the font button or navigate to the font section.
  • Select the Text to Speech option and turn it on.

Although Kindle hasn't explicitly stated the reason for the removal of such fan-favorite additions, it did not take a lot of time to decipher this move.

Amazon's acquisition of Audible back in 2008 was probably the major reason for this shift.

Judging the potential of the audiobook market, it might not have been profitable for Amazon to bundle in a text-to-speech feature on Kindle devices.

Either way, this is a feature that is unfortunately exclusive to older Kindle devices and will probably not make it to newer devices as Amazon has other plans to implement audio for Digital books.

How to Make Kindle App for Android and iOS Read to You

How to Make Kindle App for Android and iOS Read to You

Despite having app launch errors, Amazon has been focusing on introducing newer features to the Kindle app first, before porting them to the Kindle devices.

This is most probably due to the more powerful hardware on smartphones, and a version of reading Audio books aloud has been included here as well.

Kindle Immersion Reading

Immersion Reading is one such feature the Kindle app got access to, for both iOS and Android, that specifically allows for a read-out-aloud experience.

Immersion Reading essentially links a supported ebook in your Kindle library with your audible account and enables you to listen to that ebook.

The Kindle and Audible stores should have a tag associated that signifies that the book is available on both platforms and is compatible with Immersion reading.

It is usually tagged as a Paired Edition book.

The highlight of this feature is that the progress between the ebook and the audiobook is synchronized to the dot, so you can always continue your progress in any file format you wish.

To enable Immersion reading on your Kindle app for Android or iOS, follow the steps below:

  • Make sure that you are logged in to the same Amazon account on both your Kindle and Audible app
  • Open a supported ebook on your Kindle app.
  • Tap once on the screen to open the overlay menu.
  • Tap on the Play button at the bottom center of the screen.

The Kindle app will enable narration and highlight the text on the ebook as it reads.

You will need to purchase or gain access to the same book on both the Kindle library as well as the Audible library for Immersion reading to work.

This is clearly a superior tech than the text-to-speech narration on older Kindle devices.

But there are some drawbacks associated with Immersion reading as well.

Here are a few pros and cons that I noticed after comparing both implementations:

Kindle Text To SpeechKindle Immersion Reading
Only available on legacy devicesAvailable on the Kindle app for both iOS and Android, with support for Kindle devices coming in the future.
CheaperMore expensive, as it requires two copies of the same book. One in the Kindle library, and the other in the Audible library.
Compatible with all ebooks Requires a compatible ebook from the Kindle Store, as well as the Audiobook version of the same in the Audible library.
WhisperSync does not support AudibleWhisperSync is supported by Audible Books.
Works offlineNarration works offline if both files are downloaded. Requires a working internet connection to sync progress.
Kindle TTS vs Immersion Reading

Kindle syncs the progress across multiple platforms using a proprietary feature called WhisperSync for Voice.

WhisperSync is supported across multiple devices. You can check its compatibility from Amazon's support page for WhisperSync.

Voice Assistants

If your book does not have a compatible Paired Reading version, there is a hack you can utilize to get a similar experience.

Voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Siri have evolved a lot over the years, and one feature they both share is reading out texts on your screen.

Using the compatible assistants on your device, you can simply ask to read aloud the texts on screen for a similar, or better experience, thanks to a much better voice engine.

To ask your voice assistants to read your books, follow the steps below:

  • Identify the assistant on your device. Android devices should have Google Assistant, whereas iOS devices should have Siri.
  • Navigate to the Kindle app and open the book of choice.
  • Invoke the hot word to trigger your assistant. Google Assistant is triggered with a "Hey Google" keyword, whereas Siri gets triggered by a simple "Hey Siri" or just "Siri".
  • Give the following command: "Read what's on my screen".

The main drawback of this method is that you will need to manually change the pages and keep invoking the assistant each time you want it to read out the contents.

Also, the speech output rate cannot be adjusted for this specific purpose.

But on the bright side, this works with almost all files with text and you will not need to depend on an Audible library.

How to Make Kindle Fire Read to You

Kindle Fire tablets also support immersion reading, so you can have the device read aloud your Kindle books with no hassle.

Do note that Immersion Reading is only supported for Kindle Fire tablets 2nd generation and above.

To enable Immersion Reading on your Kindle Fire tablets, follow the steps below:

  • Make sure that you have a compatible book on both your Kindle and Audible libraries.
  • Open the ebook on your Kindle app.
  • Tap once on the screen to open the overlay menu.
  • Tap on the Play button at the bottom center of the screen.

Sideloaded books without the Kindle Paired Edition tag on the book will not work with Immersion Reading.

How to Make Kindle App for Windows/Mac Read to You

How to Make Kindle App for Windows/Mac Read to You

Not many know of a Kindle app existing for Windows and Mac, enabling you to read directly from your PC.

Kindle for PC unfortunately does not support Kindle Immersion reading.

In fact, it does not support any native solution for a text-to-speech conversion of the books in your Kindle library.

An alternative that might work, albeit with a bit of effort is to use a free third-party text-to-speech tool such as the TTS tool to achieve the narration.

You can even have services such as Google Translate help translate books and read them aloud via your PC speakers or connected headphones.

This does pose all the drawbacks of using a third-party service, such as manually copy-pasting each page and coming across issues relating to word limits.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

If you have further queries regarding your Kindle devices, feel free to contact Amazon Kindle support.

I hope my article on whether your Kindle has the ability to read to you has been worth reading and has aided you in quenching your curiosity about the same.

Have a good day!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do Kindle devices have speakers built in?

Newer Kindle devices do not come built-in with a speaker and use Bluetooth to transmit podcasts to listeners.

Older Kindle devices such as the Kindle Keyboard/Kindle 3rd Gen has a built-in QWERTY keyboard.

Do Kindle devices support external keyboards?

Kindle devices do not support external keyboards or peripherals.

Kindle ditched implementing a QWERTY keyboard after the Kindle 3rd Gen.

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About Doug Stevenson

Hey! I'm Doug, My passion for tech started by fixing phones and computers for my friends and family.

I started Blinqblinq to give reliable tech advice to anyone who needs it, for free! If you have questions on anything tech-related, feel free to contact me.

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Doug Stevenson

Hey! I'm Doug, My passion for tech started by fixing phones and computers for my friends and family.

I started Blinqblinq to give reliable tech advice to anyone who needs it, for free! If you have questions on anything tech-related, feel free to contact me.

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