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NNELS launches its first-ever Artificial Intelligence (AI) Narrated Audiobook

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Have you noticed an increase in news lately about Artificial Intelligence (AI)? It is certainly a hot topic and something most of us interact with on a daily basis, often without realizing it. For example, if you ask Siri to tell you the weather before you head out for a walk, follow a recommendation for what to watch on Netflix, or accept a playlist suggestion on Spotify, you are interacting with and helping Artificial Intelligence or AI, to learn.

The National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) is proud to announce its first-ever Artificial Intelligence (AI) narrated audiobook, The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure, The "Good Parts" by William Goldman.

“Inconceivable!” you say? NNELS is exploring new ways of creating audiobooks and one of the emerging tools we are experimenting with is text-to-speech technology (TTS) which allows Artificial Intelligence to translate a text document into a narrated audiobook. Described on their website, “DeepZen turns your text into audio content that’s rich with the emotion, intonation and rhythm of the natural voice.” NNELS chose DeepZen’s AI narrator voice of William Birch, who speaks with an English accent, to guide you on the adventures of the beloved characters created by William Goldman.

You are in for a treat with this audiobook production of The Princess Bride or the accessible EPUB version on the NNELS site! The Princess Bride is a book within a book that includes many interjections by author William Goldman on the fictional work stated to be penned originally by the fictional author, S. Morgenstern. Framed as a work that Goldman is said to be abridging, his anecdotes and asides are generously sprinkled throughout the novel. The Princess Bride was originally published in 1973 and has enjoyed global and multi-generational popularity since the feature film adaptation was released in 1987 with a screenplay by Goldman himself and directed by Rob Reiner.

The only commercially available audiobook of this popular novel is an abridged, two-hour recording narrated by the film’s director, Rob Reiner. For NNELS’ first venture into AI-voiced audiobook production, the team selected this work due to its massive popularity and the wish of many to experience it as an unabridged audiobook. DeepZen’s William Birch reads the unabridged 25th anniversary edition which begins with an introduction by the author William Goldman that shares several behind-the-scenes trials and tribulations in getting The Princess Bride published (and later, made into the popular movie).
This audiobook production of The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure, The "Good Parts" was produced by the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) and is available to anyone in Canada with a library card and a perceptual disability as defined by Canada's Copyright Act. NNELS is delighted to make this first AI-narrated audiobook a part of our collection.

To learn more about NNELS’ collections and services, please visit NNELS' website or ask about NNELS at your local library.