Dr. Seuss Did You Know?
Born on March 2, 1904, our beloved Dr. Seuss had a deep concern for getting more books to more people. Read this excerpt from www.seussville.com talking about his groundbreaking strides in reaching more people:
". . .entitled Why Johnny Can’t Read; the premise for both article and book was that children’s books were boring. Hersey was outraged with the current primers, calling them “antiseptic” and the children in them “unnaturally clean.” He called for illustrations “that widen rather than narrow the associative richness the children give to the words".
So in an unusual act of sharing an author, Houghton Mifflin and Random House asked Ted (Dr. Seuss) to write a children’s primer using 220 new-reader vocabulary words; the end result was The Cat in the Hat. Houghton Mifflin reserved textbook rights and Random House reserved retail trade rights. While schools were hesitant to adopt it as an official primer, children and parents swarmed for copies."
Dr. Seuss books have changed and touched the lives of millions of readers. Dr. Seuss would be deeply disappointed in Amazon's decision to give in to the Author's Guild, regarding the Kindle 2. The Guild argues that the text-to-speech function of the Kindle 2 violates the audio rights of the publisher. Amazon points out that no audio is recorded, the computer is simply reading aloud, just like we do when we read to our children.
This feature of the Kindle 2 allows the reader to get through the book more quickly. If people are reading quicker, then they are purchasing quicker. It's a win for both the reader and the industry.
Amazon has decided to let publishers choose if the text-to-audio function will be engaged. Turning off the feature detracts from the goal of getting more books into more people's hands. It will be a costly decision to authors and publishers. Not to mention a blow to the work our forefathers, like Dr. Seuss have worked so hard to establish and maintain.
So Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss. And thank you for wanting to widen "the associative richness" of books. May the publishers, see it your way.