(Alt title: Is Amazon stealing author’s audiobook business?
Alt title 2: OH NO, MY MONEY. D=)
So, ignoring the much bigger issues of how often authors are ripped off by movie contracts, merch deals and even the actual publishing contracts, here’s my two cents:
There are multiple advantages in text-to-speech. The most notable and respectable being that it aids the visually impaired, physically disabled, dyslexic or undereducated enjoy a book they couldn’t otherwise. That’s the main point behind it all, and it’s a brilliant one.
But authors, agents and publishers are still up in arms because they think it’ll get in the way of their audiobook sales and get between them and their precious profits.
Riiight. If we’re speaking in far-off-future tense, then I could understand it, but right now, the only reason I’d ask a computer to read my work to me is for the lulz. (Have you heard the Mac system voices? Oh, they’re genius.)
For now, though, they can’t compete with audiobooks, but they can strike a note of fear in their hearts – which is brilliant.
There’s nowhere near enough effort put into audiobooks. My favourite forms of them – read either by the author or by the cast from the TV show or movie adaption, eg “Of Mice and Men” and the Doctor Who new novels – are few and far between, and often inexperienced authors are thrown into a recording studio to read their work in deadpan for a few hours or given some generic narrator to drag us through the adventure. We don’t even get the sound effects radio plays would grace us with, or even any music other than a slight starting jingle if we get lucky.
So I’m all for improving our freaky, artificial attempts at computer voices, because if we do, the audiobooks market will actually have to do new things to survive. Let’s see some effort, shall we?