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How is AI used in the Audiobook Industry?

  • Ashesh Anand
  • Dec 08, 2021
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At least once in your life, You must have listened to an audiobook available online on some popular audiobook app. Isn’t that an amazing concept. You can literally comprehend each and every chapter of those long Novels or Sci-fi books available without even reading it. 


In recent years, Audiobooks sales have simply exploded. The APA or Audio Publisher Association even claims that US publishers have sold Audiobooks worth $940 Million in 2018, hitting a high of 24.5 percent from 2017. The digital sales accounted for about 91.4 percent of the total income in 2018 making a significant impact towards the growth of the Audiobook industry.


Audiobooks are becoming more accessible now-a-days thanks to platforms such as Audible, Spotify and many others. Audiobooks can be listened to on phones, in a car, on even a tablet, laptop, or through smart speakers. 


(Speaking of Spotify, check out how Spotify uses Big Data)


Assume that you got some work to finish and you suddenly stopped the Audiobook. If you are reading a physical book, what happens in such a case? You will forget where you left and will have to face too much hassle in again finding up to where you had read. But for Audiobooks, it’s not the same case. It remembers where you left, and you can start listening from there again when you are back.



Opportunities in Audiobooks offered by AI


  • Won't deprive creative minds of their abilities


Creative brains, the writers, the storytellers won’t be harmed by AI; rather, adequate support of publishers by optimizing them will help to enhance the Book industry. AI will assist them in executing their tasks more quickly and effectively. 


Publishers who have deployed AI, claim that their sales and readership numbers have improved to a large extent. According to the poll, the majority of publishers interested in implementing AI are starting with their marketing and distribution departments. 


With the use of AI, along with editing even press, administration, production, distribution, and marketing industries are predicted to increase.


  • Audiobook Narration Automation

While AI is still a long way from matching the quality of human performance, it can already imitate human speech. Text-to-speech technologies are becoming more natural-sounding thanks to AI. 

For a long time, tech companies have struggled to make AI text-to-speech sound human. Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have all been attempting to improve the voices of their AI personal assistants. 


These systems work by connecting words and phrases from pre recorded files, according to the article in Scientific American. However, this is insufficient to make them sound natural. These systems seem robotic because they lack the nuances of human speech, such as pauses and breaths that we take when speaking. 


Deep learning enters the picture at this point. AI can learn to emulate details that make speech sound more realistic by examining diverse human speech samples.


(Do you Know? You can even compose your own Music using Deep learning. Check this out.)


  • Creating Short Summaries for Audiobooks


With the growing popularity of apps like Blinkist, a so-called condensed reading platform, AI has a new opportunity in the audiobook business. Platforms such as Amazon and Audible utilize AI to provide short summaries of books.


The existence of platforms like Blinkist, which just raised $18.8 million in funding, demonstrates that there is a need for shorter versions of books, and audiobooks can make use of this opportunity.


Not surprisingly, there are already AI based tools that seek to do this. AISummarizer is a free online tool that allows you to paste your text and get a summary. It allows the user to select the percentage by which the text should be decreased.


  • Accent and voice adjustment for the narrator


According to TechCrunch, Amazon has submitted a patent for an audio system that can identify a speaker's accent and adjust it to the listener's accent. The audiobook sector could benefit from the technology as well. 


Consider listening to an audiobook and having the option to change the narrator's accent. This feature, as far-fetched as it may seem, can be useful in situations when you've found a fascinating audiobook but the narrator has an accent that makes it difficult to listen to.


(Checkout - How Amazon uses Big Data?)

What if you want the book read to you by a familiar voice? There's also an AI solution for that. Bloomberg recently spoke with the founders of Lyrebird, a company that utilizes AI to clone human sounds. 


To do so, they're utilizing the aforementioned deep learning technology to analyze a one-minute voice clip and turn it into an AI version that can speak whatever type of text you feed it. 


Accents are even preserved. A technology like this can have destructive repercussions in the wrong hands, but it can also have sentimental purposes, such as being nostalgic and listening to your mother read you a fairytale.


Watch this: Artificial Intelligence Audiobook


Looking forward: Future of AI in Audiobooks


The development of AI-enabled audiobooks is a promising trend that no publisher should overlook. Is it flawless? Definitely not. Is it possible that it will suffice? Probably, if a publisher is prepared to devote the necessary time to the project's voice editing phase. It clearly works best for factual, but a few vendors make a strong argument for fiction as well.


The ban that Audible has  imposed on the distribution of audiobooks featuring nonhuman narrators is a serious issue that will take time to overcome. Audible isn't the only player in town, either. There are many others and 


In any case, audiobook creation is entering a new era, and AI technologies are at the center of it.


Watch this: How AI is transforming the creative industries | The Economist

Audiobooks are now on the increase, and competitors will soon try to differentiate themselves with unique features. AI has a lot to offer the audiobook industry, whether it's introducing new ways to enjoy audiobooks or simply improving the production process. For the time being, we'll just have to wait and see what happens with audiobooks.

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