4 Quick Tips When Converting eBooks from Text to Speech

December 18, 2007 at 9:47 pm | Posted in eBook, text to speech, Text2Go, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

As the Mirror Cracks by Steve JordanToday I purchased a new eBook ‘As the Mirror Cracks’by Steve Jordan and I thought I’d share a few tips on converting eBooks from text to speech.

1. Check the DRM permissions. In a perfect world people would trust each other and all eBooks would be DRM free. Thankfully Steve Jordan publishes all his books in multiple formats, none of which have any DRM protection. However the majority of eBooks available for sale are DRM-protected and they will cause you a world of pain. DRM-protected works place all sorts of restrictions on how and where you can view your eBook. When converting an eBook to speech, the DRM protection must allow the text to speech operation. Check very carefully before purchasing the eBook that you are granted this right. If it’s not explicitly stated, assume text to speech has been disabled. Even if the eBook allows text to speech, it will only allow it to be performed from within the authorized eBook reader. If this runs on your PC, then you will only be able to listen to the eBook while sitting at your computer. To use a product such as Text2Go to convert an eBook to an MP3 file that you can listen to on the go, the eBook will need to grant you ‘Copy and Paste’ rights. Most don’t, so it’s best just to say no to DRM-protected works.

2. Don’t convert an eBook in one single chunk or you’ll end up with one enormous track. If you lose your place during playback, it will be very hard to find it again as you will need to seek through an enormous file. Instead I create a playlist for the eBook and then split it up chapter by chapter and store each chapter as a track within the playlist. If I lose my place during playback, it’s easy to find the chapter I was up to and then do a quick seek within the corresponding track.

3. Don’t convert an entire eBook upfront. Instead I convert and listen to the first couple of chapters. This allows me to quickly identify any problem areas during the text to speech process. These may be mispronounced words (most common when the eBook contains a lot of jargon, slang or terminology specific to a particular field), or formatting specific to the eBook (e.g. special characters used to denote pauses, or dividers between sections, chapters, etc). I can then add corrections for the mispronounced words to the pronunciation dictionaries and create text cleanup rulesto handle the eBook’s specific formatting. With these in place I will convert the remaining chapters of the eBook.

4. Don’t use the free Microsoft voices. Listening to an entire eBook with one of these voices will not be a particularly pleasant experience. Instead purchase a high quality, natural-sounding voice.

That’s it. Do you have any tips of your own? Stay tuned for a review of ‘As the Mirror Cracks’.

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2 Comments

  1. [...] If you don’t like reading from a screen or just can’t be bothered, why not try converting your eBook from text to speech so that you can listen to it on your iPod or MP3 player. Check out this recent post 4 Quick Tips When Converting eBooks from Text to Speech [...]

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