Human Voice or AI Voice for Audio Books?

As the audio book market continues to grow, many are wondering if human voices will soon be replaced by AI voices. As of February 2023, it seems like AI is headed in that direction. Some, like myself, welcome this change.

Even though I’ve been a voice over artist for many decades I’m not interested in recording my own book – I’d rather someone else does it for me. My novel “Get Rid of Glenda” has just been released and I have to make a decision on human or AI. Cost is a big factor.

Human or AI for your audio book?

Good Voice Talent

Good voice talent is crucial to the success of an audio book but it comes at a steep cost. Years ago as technology got better, the internet made it easier for voice talent to work from home. Microphones, computers and incredible audio programs made recording cheaper and more accessible. Now with the rise of AI voices, costs have decreased even further. While some voice talent are scrambling to find ways to stay relevant, others are embracing this change and finding new opportunities to work.

What is a Good Audio Book?

What makes a good audio book is subjective, but personally, I prefer a single voice that reads as if someone is telling me a story. Recently, I listened to the audio book version of “Amber Amulet” by Craig Silvey, which was narrated by audio artist Grant Cartwright. Cartwright’s narration was fantastic and truly brought the story to life. On the other hand, the audio book version of “A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole left me cold, despite the fact that the narrator was clearly capable. Ultimately, the quality of the voice talent, whether human or AI, is what matters most.

My Voice (Human)
My Voice (Cloned AI)

Voices of the Future

In terms of the future of audio books, AI voices could be a game-changer. Recording an audio book can take a human voice talent many days in the studio, along with a producer and studio equipment. While it’s possible to do it from home, it can still be a time-consuming process that requires revisions and multiple checks. AI voices, on the other hand, could provide a faster, cheaper, and more accessible option for authors who want to record their work. In fact, some companies are already offering AI voice options that sound remarkably like the human voice. I’m experimenting with ElevenLabs.

As the world of audio books changes, creatives and producers will need to find new ways to adapt and make money. However, one thing is clear: the future of audio books is exciting and full of potential. With “Get Rid of Glenda” I’m still not sure what direction to take. For a voice over artist and a producer your audio book is one job – but for you, their work will be part of your life forever. Whether we choose to use a human voice or an AI voice, what matters most is finding the best talent for the best read for your work.