Major Publishers Sue Audible Over Speech-To-Text Feature

In this brave new world of digital book publishing, all the major publishers are coming to terms with what they are and are not allowed to do. The latest incident comes from Amazon’s Audible who is planning to release a new speech-to-text feature that would instantly produce the words to an audiobook as they’re being spoken so that listeners can read along. Seems helpful, right? Well, it turns out all the companies that publish these books in e-book formatting are pretty pissed. If people can purchase this audiobook with viewable text, consumers will be less likely to buy the actual …

Book Culture

In this brave new world of digital book publishing, all the major publishers are coming to terms with what they are and are not allowed to do. The latest incident comes from Amazon’s Audible who is planning to release a new speech-to-text feature that would instantly produce the words to an audiobook as they’re being spoken so that listeners can read along. Seems helpful, right?

Well, it turns out all the companies that publish these books in e-book formatting are pretty pissed. If people can purchase this audiobook with viewable text, consumers will be less likely to buy the actual e-book. Audible has only reproduced books through oral recordings, and this new move forward would be seen as stepping on the toes of all the major publishers.

 

Image result for audible text to speech

image via Forbes

 

For those of you interested in the prospect of reading along to your favorite audiobooks and disinterested in the logistics of consumer-based e-book retail in relation to copyright law, sorry; the two are inseparable for the time being. In fact, all of the major publishers (i.e. Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster) are suing Audible over their proposed new feature because they believe it violates copyright law.

 

DongWon Song

Image Via Morhaimliterary

 

DongWon Song, an agent from the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency, told The Verge, “If Audible is producing a book as a sublicense from a publisher then they only have rights to the audio, or they have the right to create and sell an audio recording of the text, and that’s all the rights that they’re given: they’re not given any text rights, they’re not given any electronic rights, they’re just given the right to distribute an audio edition.”

 

 

It doesn’t look too great for Audible’s new feature which is set for a September release, so for all of those who are interested in listening to an audiobook while having the words appear on your device, you’ll just have to settle with buying two copies of the same book.

 

 

Featured Image Via On Target Publications