In my last post, I talked about video as a promotional tool. I mentioned, then, that I dislike the sound of my own recorded voice. Now, we’ve all seen the bombardment advertising by Amazon for their Audible audiobook service. It’s an area that I would, in fact, love to utilise, but I still have the same problem.
Audiobooks open up the world of literature to those who can’t read due to visual impairment. Why Amazon insists on advertising only on the principle of it being convenient to perfectly sighted people, I’ll never understand! Now, I would be very pleased to offer my ebooks in audio format too, but using computer generated “voices” is very unsatisfactory. Of course, I could invest in more natural sounding voices for the text-to-speech systems, but it’s an expense I can’t afford. The same applies to hiring somebody to read the stories for me – it’s just not something I can afford to do.
I’ve listened to a few Project Gutenberg audiobooks, where the “reader” is a computer generated voice and I have to say that they really don’t work for me. Equally, I’ve found some that are actually read by real people where I simply don’t like the sound of their voices. I don’t wish to be harsh, but some folk have that kind of voice. I strongly suspect that I would be one of them! I applaud their efforts, providing audiobooks that might never be produced otherwise, but as a reader-listener, I can only be honest about whether I would listen to the works they’ve worked so hard on.
I’m wondering, now, whether I’m thinking too narrowly. I can’t possibly know whether those who are visually impaired are willing to accept anything rather than nothing. I have the option to read books for myself. I’m not dependent on others to allow me to enjoy the vast world of literature. A visually impaired person may well be so desperate that they can tolerate even the soulless voice of a computer. How, after all, can I discover the reality? I know only two people with sight problems, and I seriously doubt that either would be keen on audiobooks, so that means I have nobody to guide me in my decision making.
If any of you have experience in this area, I would love to hear from you!