Apple has just quietly launched a catalog of audio books narrated by an artificial intelligence. Spotted by The Guardiantitles can be found by typing ” AI storytelling in the search bar of the Books app. If a large number of them are paying, some are free. It is possible to listen to extracts, and the technology is quite impressive.
On his dedicated page, Apple explains that the technology will make it possible to make the creation of audiobooks accessible to a greater number of people. The publisher/author retains the rights to the audiobook, and there are no restrictions on the production and distribution of other audio versions.
Apple Books digital storytelling combines advanced text-to-speech technology with the hard work of teams of linguists, quality control specialists and sound engineers to produce high-quality audiobooks from an ebook file.
Authors can send their book to Apple to see if they are eligible for the program. Certain criteria are required: the title must be available on Apple Books, it must be in English and must fall into a certain category. The approach involves two partners, namely Draft2Digital and Ingram CoreSource.
Apple says it wants to start with fiction and romance, before opening up to non-fiction and self-help books. The text will have to be compatible with the transcription system (no complex formatting elements and few foreign language words and phrases) and with Apple’s editorial standards. Several voices are available, of which you can listen to extracts on Apple’s website.
Once the project has been sent, it will take a month or two for Cupertino to process the work and carry out quality checks. Apple says it remains determined to ” celebrate and showcase the magic of human storytelling and explains that it wants to continue to develop its standard audiobook catalog.
Apple has reportedly approached independent publishers over the past few months to find potential partners. The authors were told that Apple (which was not named as the company behind the technology) would bear the production costs and they would receive royalties from sales. This novelty should have been launched in mid-November, but the takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk would have prompted Apple to postpone the release of the project.
The popularity of audio books is well established: Spotify sees them as a ” huge opportunity and launched its dedicated store in September in the United States. Apple did not fail to put him Sticks in the wheels, which prompted Spotify to stop selling its audiobooks on iOS. The company has also launched a website to denounce the anti-competitive practices of the App Store. According to The Guardian, sales of this format jumped 25% last year and reportedly grossed over $1.5 billion. The idea of launching a subscription audiobook service has already been evoked in Cupertino, but nothing concrete has been presented yet.