New Trend? Apple introduces AI-narrated audiobooks 

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Apple launched AI-narrated audiobooks in its digital storefronts. This is a move that is sure to have a ripple effect on the lucrative talking book marketplace. And it may be the “beginning of the end for human narrators,” according to the online newspaper The Guardian.

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The Apple store now offers a variety of books with voice-over content performed by artificial intelligence. The Apple Books for Authors website calls the feature “digital narration.” 

Just a few years ago only big-name publishers and tech platforms produced audiobooks. But the marketplace has been expanding.

Pandemic-related school closures created a boom in digital audio content. Nationwide trends show that families in general and specifically students show an increase in audiobooks.

According to the Audio Publishers Association, 61% of parents say their children (ages 17 and younger) listen to audiobooks, compared to 49% reported in 2020. 

AI-narrated audiobooks quirks

If you search for “AI narration” in the Books search field, you get a list. Many of the books so far are small publishers and low-volume books.