Audible’s publishing platform, Audiobook Creation Exchange, connects your favorite stories to the actors who can bring them to life! It’s been a valuable tool that’s helped produce 160,00 audiobooks already. Now, Audible is bringing that power to produce stellar audiobooks to more people through their ACX University program.
Image via audible.com
ACX University is a series of live broadcasts from Audible that aims to give authors and actors the tools and strategies needed to make great audiobooks for Audible’s platform. The first episode debuts at 5:30 p.m. October 28 and is titled “Transform Your Career: The Makeover Episode.”
In later episodes, ACX University will teach on topics ranging from marketing to finding your brand as an audiobook producer. They’re bringing in industry experts like Scott Brick, who’s narrated over 950(!) audiobooks, to give viewers valuable information about the industry. Jessica Hawkins, a USA Today bestseller, will also be leading a seminar on everything you need to do 90 days before and after your audiobook is published.
image via Audible.com
Of course, voice actors hoping to get their start in the industry and authors who want to bring their books to life are the main focus for ACX University. But it will also be interesting to readers who are curious about how their favorite audiobooks get made. Personally, I’m excited to take a peek behind the curtain, and I’m hoping some of my favorite authors use ACX University to bring the sweet sounds of literature to my ears.
Is an audiobook a book? What about the captioning of an audiobook, for hearing impaired or for a quick reference? An ongoing legal battle between Audible and several major book publishers reckons with the definition of what a book even is.
Image via Publishers Weekly
How Audible’s new Captions technology works is it scrolls a few words of AI-generated captioning to accompany an audiobook’s narration. Audible responded last week with a motion of their own, calling for the publishers’ suit to be dismissed. The legalese of the motion is a tad complex, but here’s the gist of the latest development.
Audible claims its technology constitutes fair use. The motion to dismiss explains this claim as follows:
After listeners purchase an audiobook—and Plaintiffs and their clients are compensated—Audible Captions can help listeners understand it by looking up unfamiliar words, accessing reference materials, or simply verifying and focusing on what they are hearing. This will facilitate access for listeners who have difficulty engaging with audiobooks (or literature in general).
Thus, Audible’s lawyers argue, Audible Captions is in line with the purpose of copyright law: “to expand public learning while protecting the incentives of authors to create for the public good.”
In our previous coverage of this ongoing story, we wrote that publishers were angry with Audible because they didn’t give the audiobook platform permission to publish text versions of their titles because e-books require a separate licensing agreement. Audible’s lawyers also argue that claims they have not breached their licensing contract because the user of Audible Captions never has full access to the complete text of the title they’re listening to:
Audible Captions is not a book of any kind, much less a replacement for paper books, e-books, or cross-format products.
The Captions in action / Image Via Publishing Perspectives
Though the encrypted text is cached on the reader’s device, Audible’s lawyers highlighted the fact that the reader never has direct access to it, so the captions cannot be used except in tandem with the audio recording. Since they’ve paid to license the audio version of the publisher’s titles, and since the text generated by Audible’s technology is not a book in any sense, Audible argues there should not be an issue.
Audible’s lawyers make a convincing argument, and it’s definitely interesting to see how crucial the concept of what a books is to this debate.
The rapidly changing digital publishing landscape has often presented a challenge to book publishers, as it seems the definition of what a book even is must change in the world of e-books and audiobooks.
Image Via Alchectron
Maria Pallante, chief executive of the Association of American Publishers, commented on the case:
What’s at stake is the viability of the publishing industry and the ability to rely on copyright law.
Audible has denied the new feature on their app violates any rights or agreements. In a a statement on August 23rd the company said that:
Captions was developed because we, like so many leading educators and parents, want to help kids who are not reading engage more through listening…This feature would allow such listeners to follow along with a few lines of machine-generated text as they listen to the audio performance. It is not and was never intended to be a book.
Since the captions would be machine-generated and not transcribed and edited, Audible admitted “up to 6%” of the text may have errors. In the lawsuit, publishers argued The Captions program would then harm their reputations as “as trusted and valued stewards of their authors’ works.”
The program was set to begin as early as September 10th, though this lawsuit will definitely complicate the release. Thankfully, Audible can still launch for works for which there is no permissions issue, such as public domain works and Audible or Amazon published titles.
Image Via Author’s Guild
Audible is facing a fierce legal battle against a cohort of publishing giants. The plaintiffs in the case include Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Hachette Book Group, Chronicle Books, and Scholastic Corp. It’s difficult to tell what the outcome of the case will be this early on. But it’s definitely going to be an important event for the future of publishing.
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 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.
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.
It’s summer, you’re busy with a million things: work, travel, friends, more travel— for what is supposed to be the most relaxing time of year, summer fills up fast and it can be hard to find the time to make a start on the summer to-be-read list you spent the year compiling! That’s where Audible comes in.
Audible have some amazing new additions to their already extensive library and we’ve got a list of some of the most exciting titles that are new to Audible this month!
As part of the launch of Audible Latino—an integrated, multicultural destination offering US Hispanic customers a robust catalog of Spanish-language and culturally relevant English-language spoken-word content on audible.com – Audible launched the much anticipated audio premiere of Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal by J. K. Rowling, performed by internationally acclaimed Puerto Rican actor, Carlos Ponce. This is the first time that the Spanish-language Harry Potter books have been available in digital audio. Books 1-5 are now available, with the remainder set to be released later this year and next.
In Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light, one of Stan Lee’s final collaborations and most innovative works, the legendary creator invites you to unleash the power of your imagination, and bring to life an epic, superhero origin story set within a tech-centric, highly connected world, unnervingly reminiscent of our own. Performed by Yara Shahidi, People Magazine called this Audible Original “an immersive audio experience” and Entertainment Weekly says it’s “a first-of-its-kind.”
Join a select group of MoveWith teachers in this uplifting series of yoga classes, meditation, core strength training, and more designed to get you moving and energized. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, or as an afternoon pick-me-up, this is the perfect way to squeeze a mindful sweat into your day. So grab your headphones and let a MoveWith coach guide you on a centering and rejuvenating journey. These high-energy classes are designed to be taken anytime of day and as many times through as you want.
Where The Light Entersis a candid, heartwarming glimpse into the creation of the beloved Biden family and the life of a woman at its center. Thisis the story of how Jill built a family – and a life – of her own. From the pranks she played to keep everyone laughing to the traditions she formed that would carry them through tragedy, hers is the spirited journey of a woman embracing many roles.
In Our Harlem,award-winning chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson takes listeners on a music- and food-filled journey to his Harlem neighborhood and Red Rooster Harlem restaurant. The seven-hour Audible Original is filled with the sounds of Marcus’s kitchen, gospel and jazz from local bands, and conversation with friends. Marcus invites the listener to cook along with him, listen to the beats that flow through his restaurant, and learn about Harlem’s rich history, diversity, and vibrant pulse.
True West by Sam Shepherd, read by kit harington and johnny flynn
Kit Harington and Johnny Flynn smolder and burn as sparring brothers in Sam Shepard’s darkly comic 1980 drama, True West. The Cain and Abel conflict is a showdown of sibling rivalry, but also bears witness to a legacy of booze-fueled family brawls. As Harington and Flynn duel it out, they bring a cagey, wiry energy to director Matthew Dunster’s West End revival of this Pulitzer Prize finalist, delivered as an audio play.
Heads Will Roll is an Audible Original from Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon and her co-creator/co-star (and real-life sister) Emily Lynne. Produced by Audible and Broadway Video, this is not an audiobook—it’s a 10-episode, star-studded, scripted audio comedy that features performances from Meryl Streep, Tim Gunn, Peter Dinklage, Queer Eye’s Fab Five, and so many more!
When an experiment to study quantum uncertainty goes spectacularly wrong, physics student Bill Rustad and his friends find that they have accidentally created an inter-dimensional portal. They connect to Outland – an alternate Earth with identical geology, but where humans never evolved. Then everything changes when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts in an explosion large enough to destroy civilization and kill half the planet. The team has just hours to get as many people as possible across to Outland before a lethal cloud of ash overwhelms them! This scifi Audible Original from bestselling author/narrator team Dennis E. Taylor and Ray Taylor is an absolute must-listen
Three decades after The Baby-Sitters Clubfirst rocked our world the beloved franchise is back to binge like never before! In the most exciting news since we first learned of Kristy Thomas’s great idea to start the Baby-Sitters Club, the blockbuster series that first celebrated young entrepreneurialism and fierce female friendships is now available only from Audible as an audio experience with the first five titles in the series performed by Elle Fanning.