Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is launching a beta program in the United States to take most of the financial burden off audiobook production. Authors can create an audiobook version of their ebook using virtual voice narration and synthetic speech technology. Amazon is promising to grow the beta in the future as they iron out any bugs and open the platform up to other countries.
Authors will first choose one of their eligible ebooks on Kindle Direct Publishing to publish an audiobook. Authors can then sample voices, preview, and customize the audiobook. Authors can set a list price between $3.99 and $14.99 and will receive a 40% royalty. After publication, audiobooks will be live within 72 hours and distributed where Audible titles are sold. This will save authors thousands of dollars who would generally hire professional narrators, voice talent and engineers to do the final edits through ACX.
Customers can find and listen to audiobooks with virtual voice wherever Audible audiobooks are available today. Audiobooks created through KDP from ebooks in KDP Select will be included in the Audible Plus catalogue and eligible for a share of the KDP Select Global Fund. Audiobooks created by virtual voice will be clearly labelled, and, as with any audiobook, customers can listen to samples.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.