New from Amazon: A Talking Kindle

We can’t help but admire the maniacal gleam in the eyes of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, but we wanted no part of the Kindle—the company’s briskly selling e-reader—until Candy Pratts Price recommended we check it out (when we chatted with her last Fashion Week, she had The Story of Edgar Sawtelle queued up on hers). Alas, the wireless device sold out in November, but now Amazon is launching the Kindle 2, which eliminates the pesky reading part entirely.

The slimmer, lighter, faster Kindle (yours for $359) debuted earlier this week and starts shipping later this month. Among the new features are a text-to-speech function that will read you UnBeige posts (and anything else you want). Not everyone’s happy about that, however. According to the Author’s Guild, the new feature may infringle upon authors’ audiobook copyrights. The Telegraph deftly summarizes that, “The row centres on whether a text-to-speech reading of a book falls under existing copyright laws, or whether it constitutes an whole new medium.” Watch out, Author’s Guild, because Amazon is becoming something of an expert on gray areas: the Kindle 2’s screen boasts “16 shades of gray for clear text and even crisper images.”