Progress in artificial intelligence has unlocked the capability for human-sounding storytelling. AI-generated voices can narrate audiobooks that don’t sound digital or robotic.
Still, some authors prefer humans over AI or using both options.
And that’s great because, with the help of AI, authors can optimize and scale their audiobook production. However, they can still use real human narrators for some of their titles to cater to those buyers who don’t want to listen to an AI-generated voice.
In this article, I go over how to create AI audiobooks and the benefits this new technology brings.
This write-up goes over:
- AI-driven narration revolutionizes audiobooks, creating human-like storytelling experiences previously unattainable with digital voices.
- Authors now have the power to blend AI and human narrators, optimizing audiobook production for broader audience appeal and profitability.
- Discover how AI tools like Apple Books digital narration, Google AI, Murf, and others offer accessible, customizable options for transforming ebooks into immersive audiobooks, enhancing storytelling across diverse genres.
The audiobook market is booming, especially for romance, mystery, thriller, sci-fi, fantasy, and self-help.
Authors who choose to publish audiobooks and diversify their book formats have several benefits, such as:
- Earning more money: Audiobooks can generate additional revenue for authors, as they can reach new customers and offer a different pricing model.
- Reaching a wider audience: Audiobooks can appeal to people who prefer listening to reading or who want to multitask while enjoying a book.
- Never going out of stock: Unlike print books, audiobooks and ebooks do not have physical inventory or distribution issues.
- Refreshing your story: Audiobooks can give new life to your book by adding voice, tone, emotion, and sound effects.
- Growing your reputation as an author: Audiobooks can help you establish yourself as a professional and credible author in your genre.
If you are a self-published author who wants to take advantage of the audiobook market, consider producing an audiobook version of your book. You can either work with a publisher who offers audiobook services or do it yourself and narrate audiobooks to diversify your reach.
How to Create an Audiobook Using AI
When creating audiobooks, authors get into book narration or pay experts to do it. This can take a long time and be expensive, making it hard for new writers who work on their own.
AI narration offers a way to lower these expenses. Writers with less experience can get AI-generated audiobooks from their existing ebooks and make a bigger profit.
There are text-to-speech tools to turn an ebook into an audiobook and create a pleasant listening experience:
1. Apple Books digital narration
Apple Books digital narration is a new feature that Apple has launched on its Books app. Authors can create audiobooks from their existing ebooks using natural-sounding text-to-speech technology based on human narrators.
Apple digital narration is a feature that makes the creation of audiobooks more accessible and affordable.
Apple digital narration offers content multiplication, from ebook to audiobook, that brings authors more revenue without spending thousands of dollars on audiobook production. The biggest benefit is having your book in multiple formats without investing too much time and money into the creation process but getting money out of it.
There are a few requirements for this feature from Apple that refer to title selection, voice selection, cover image, description, or release date. Once you go through this process, Apple will work on your audiobook to have it ready in approximately two months.
Price: Free, but you have to distribute your ebook with Apple Books.
PublishDrive is one of Apple’s preferred providers. You can publish and distribute ebooks and audiobooks to Apple using PublishDrive. We’ve also added Apple Books digital narration to our set of features, so if you distribute your ebook to Apple with us, you can have an audiobook in no time by simply switching on the feature from the list of stores.
How to Use Apple Books Digital Narration via PublishDrive
The process is simple. You can turn your ebook into an audiobook with just a few clicks.
Here’s what you need to know:
If you distribute your ebook via PublishDrive to Apple Books, you can enable Apple Book digital narration as an additional store from our list.
After enabling the store, your ebook will be automatically sent to Apple to turn it into an audiobook and make it available for sale.
It takes approximately two months for Apple to process your request and make the audiobook (more details below).
In case you haven’t distributed your ebook with PublishDrive yet, you can follow a few easy steps:
Once your ebook is distributed to Apple Books, you can then enable the Apple Books digital narration.
2. Google auto-narrated audiobooks
With Google AI, you can do just about the same thing. You can convert your existing ebooks to audiobooks in just a few steps.
They offer AI-narrated audiobooks for English, Spanish, French, and German ebooks without an accompanying audiobook.
You can select from 50+ narrator options, including various languages, accents, and gender combinations, and then fine-tune the narration with the audio file editor.
To do so, you first have to provide an English, Spanish, German, or French EPUB ebook file and must offer that ebook on Google Play. Once you create your audiobook with the AI narrative from Google Play, you can download the audiobook and sell it on other retail platforms as long as the audiobook stays on Google Play, too.
Google Play Books has partnered with Findaway Voices by Spotify, reaching eight other channels (Spotify, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Audiobooks.com, Baker & Taylor, Bibliotheca, Overdrive).
Plus, you can download your Google Play Books audiobook files and sell your title elsewhere for the same price.
Check this step-by-step guide on how to create AI audiobooks with Google Play.
Price: For a limited time, there's no charge to create, publish, and download your AI-narrated audiobooks.
Amazon is the leading retailer of audiobooks, and now they also have AI voice narration. KDP authors can easily create audiobooks from their eBooks using virtual voice narration (for now, this applies only to their U.S. authors and the program is invite-only).
The process is easy: authors select the ebook they want to turn into an audiobook, customize the audiobook with sampled voices, set a price, and wait 72 hours for the audiobooks to go live. They will be distributed where Audible titles are sold.
Invitation-only for U.S. authors.
To access Kobo's digital narration feature, you need to fill out this request form. Once approved, you'll discover the audiobook production tools on your Kobo dashboard.
Additionally, Kobo accepts all types of audiobooks, whether human-narrated or generated through Google Play Books or other auto-narrated services. When uploading your title, you can specify a narrator contributor in your metadata as "Read by Synthesized Voice," "Female Synthesized Voice," or "Male Synthesized Voice."
To access Kobo's digital narration feature, you need to fill out this request form.
5. Barnes & Noble
As of now, you can not upload an audiobook directly to Barnes & Noble. However, they will accept AI audio titles through Findaway Voices by Spotify (which handle all of the company's audiobook distribution).
At the moment, Findaway only distributes AI audiobook files created through Google Play Books' auto-narration program. Therefore, these are the only types of audiobooks that B&N currently allows.
Audiobook distribution through Findaway Voices.
Murf is an AI audiobook reader that helps authors and publishers create audiobooks using 120+ natural-sounding AI voices across 20+ languages and different accents.
To create an audiobook using the AI audio narration from Murf, you need to upload your script or the text version of your book to Murf's text editor. Then you’ll be able to customize and edit your audiobook with the features they have available.
Price: From $39/mo
Podcastle is another tool you can use to narrate an audiobook using AI. It’s compatible with ACX submission requirements. The platform offers 20 different voices (English only) and has other features to create high-quality audiobooks without spending too much money during the process.
Podcastle uses advanced AI text-to-speech technology to help you create natural-sounding audiobooks.
Price: From $12/mo
With Speechify, you can narrate books and turn them into audiobooks using a human-quality voice generator. They have 130+ voices and 30 languages available.
So, if you want to see how to narrate audiobooks using AI, you can just test this platform and turn any text into natural-sounding audio.
Price: From $39/mo
What AI Audiobook Creators Offer
1. Select the preferred digital voice
Narrating audiobooks has become simple and accessible for every author who already has an ebook under their name.
Even though computer voices sound plain, the advanced AI technology nowadays has distinct voices to match your book and genre. So, select a voice that captures the feeling of your book and that helps connect with your readers.
For non-fiction, go with a voice that sounds like yours.
2. Fine-tune your audiobook
On most platforms, you can adjust how the AI talks. You can change things like pitch, speed, and volume. Some platforms even let you add expressions that suggest a feeling.
If you use a female voice for the narration, you can just pitch down her voice to sound like a man when the text requires so.
But changing the voice for each part can be a lot of work. It might be best to do it only for the most important parts of your story.
Another way to make the talking sound more natural is to add breaks where they make sense. Sometimes, the AI might not pause enough when it should, like at a long dash in a sentence. To fix this, you can mark the pause in your writing so the AI knows what to do.
3. Add background music
You can add music to emphasize a scene or a feeling. Some tools let you add music tracks from your laptop, while others offer in-app, royalty-free music options.
But this is optional. To avoid the extra work, you can skip this part. Besides, most listeners prefer clean audio that allows them to focus on the spoken words.
Using AI audiobook narration to turn your ebook into an audiobook has many benefits – from an easy process to generating more revenue from something you created.
The process bridges the gap between different forms of content consumption and extends the reach of literature to diverse audiences worldwide. The seamless conversion provided by AI technology offers convenience and a gateway to a richer, multi-sensory experience for individuals with varying preferences or accessibility needs.