David Limp the senior vice president of Amazon devices and services teased in a recent interview that Alexa might come to Kindle e-Readers. This would be a boon for people who want to have their e-books read aloud via text to speech. A future Kindle with audio functionality would also have Audible integration to buy and listen to audiobooks. Amazon would also be able to sell ebooks/audiobook packages directly on the Kindle, right now it is only available via their website.
The Alexa Voice Assistant is something Amazon is taking very seriously. They have multiple standalone products that utilize it and their success has created cutthroat competition. The Apple HomePod is due out in December and Samsung is creating a new Bixby Speaker soon thereafter. Google already has their own product on the market, but have kept sales close to the vest.
This year Amazon has integrated Alexa into their 2017 line of Fire Tablets and are working on porting it over to older devices via a firmware update. Alexa is one of the primary selling points of their low cost Android devices, but it is only available in the United States.
I think Alexa in a Kindle might be a blessing in disguise for the future of e-readers. Amazon has not included any type of audio functionality in their E Ink products since the Kindle Touch. Alexa would warrant speakers and a microphone. This could potentially open up the platform to an entirely new ecosystem for Alexa Skills and Audiobooks, which would be two huge revenue models.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.