Create Free Audiobooks with Google’s Bot Narrators

Create Free Audiobooks with Google's Bot Narrators

The first works calledself-narratedhad appeared in the Google Play Public Domain: a section that appeared in December 2020, where several English-language classics were available to listen to. In this way, Google managed to expand – with around twenty titles, let’s stay calm – its catalog of audiobooks.

Relying on the public domain, the American did not have to spend a penny or purchase rights to consider. And the project thrives.

With ease

In a communication to partner publishers, Google Play Books officially launches its self-generated audiobook model. This system allows create audiobooks easily and inexpensively“, indicates the firm.

And to continue:Instead of a human narrator, it’s the Google technology that reads these audio books. You can convert your e-books to high-quality audiobooks in just a few steps. »

The program opens in beta version – not yet final, therefore – but above all in the most total free, claims Google. Several languages ​​are also supported: German, English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

Voices galore

We propose over 50 storytelling options and tools that will allow you to easily create your self-generated audiobooks. You can also download these books to publish them through another distributor once they are available in the Google Play Store », Specifies the FAQ.

Narrators of all ages are present — from 18 to over 65, for a wide variety of voices and accents. We will thus meet Fabien 46-60 years old, Fiona 31-45 years old, Florian 31-45 years old and Francine 18-30 years old, for French speakers. We will experiment with their readings at this address.

The vast majority of the voices proposed remains English – and mainly, American, even if British and Australians occupy a good place. And if Indian accents are found, make no mistake: they are English-speaking narrators.

Create and sell, in two clicks

To use the service, you will therefore need ebook files – EPUB format, only – and have the rights. Creation, publication and downloading are free of charge, but “for a limited time“says Google.

On the other hand, their marketing does not pose any difficulty, on the condition of not creating exclusivity. If a reseller offers the audiobook thus produced, Google Play Books must have it.

As such, publishers will receive 52% of the revenue generated by these audiobooks, marketed at Google. A windfall, especially when the operator guarantees that it takes less than two hours to produce his copy of the book read…

Not sure that specialized publishers appreciate the approach…

As such, Valérie Levy-Soussan, CEO of the Audiolib house and president of the audio book commission at the Syndicat national de l’édition sees for her part “a non-event, at this stage at least. There are already accessibility features for e-books, robotic reading of a text by an artificial voice, which a user can activate, just as one can activate the automatic reading of his messages.“.

And what Google offers would be neither more nor less than that. “Quality-wise, who would want to pay for that?? There is no added value. The quality is not there yet, only a feature, which would be a disservice to the authors“, she insists.

The audio book is something else entirely, and it suffices to listen to a text read by professional actors or by authors to realize this. In addition, audio book marketing platforms (such as Audible) do not accept the marketing of readings by artificial voice, therefore few possibilities of income.. »

In addition, several companies are working on artificial intelligence applied to storytelling, “but serious solutions are not “free” they require time, human intervention, and once again the result is not yet there“.

And to conclude:This does not prevent us from following these laboratory developments, and from imagining that this will find forms of application for certain books, manuals, etc. Like any subject involving Artificial Intelligence, progress is rapid: we will talk about it again in a few years.. »

update 22/12 – 6:30 p.m.:

Questioned by our article, a spokesperson for Google Play Books wished to provide clarification: spokesperson for Google Play Book: “Tens of thousands of titles have been generated and are actively marketedsince the solution was launched last spring. Publishers of all sizes use it, university presses, large publishing houses, small independents, etc.»

And to add:To clarify: the service is in no way intended to replace existing audio book creation set-ups, it is to allow publishers to have a quality solution for content that would otherwise never get audio version (documentary, academic etc).»

We are therefore waiting to see the enthusiasm of French publishers on the subject.

Photography: Google