From Apple Books for Authors:
Empowering indie authors and small publishers
More and more book lovers are listening to audiobooks, yet only a fraction of books are converted to audio — leaving millions of titles unheard. Many authors — especially independent authors and those associated with small publishers — aren’t able to create audiobooks due to the cost and complexity of production. Apple Books digital narration makes the creation of audiobooks more accessible to all, helping you meet the growing demand by making more books available for listeners to enjoy.
Digital narration technology
Apple Books digital narration brings together advanced speech synthesis technology with important work by teams of linguists, quality control specialists, and audio engineers to produce high-quality audiobooks from an ebook file. Apple has long been on the forefront of innovative speech technology, and has now adapted it for long-form reading, working alongside publishers, authors, and narrators. For information on how you can take advantage of this new technology, see the How to get started section below.
Digitally narrated titles are a valuable complement to professionally narrated audiobooks, and will help bring audio to as many books and as many people as possible. Apple Books remains committed to celebrating and showcasing the magic of human narration and will continue to grow the human-narrated audiobook catalog.
Our digital voices are created and optimized for specific genres. We’re starting with fiction and romance, and are accepting ebook submissions in these genres. Hear samples of voices available for these genres below, or check out the full books in our audiobooks store.
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Sign up with a preferred partner
Apple’s preferred partners make the digitally narrated audiobook production and distribution process simple.
Draft2Digital: Independent authors currently selling ebooks directly on Apple Books or through Draft2Digital can work with them to produce and distribute audiobooks narrated by Apple Books.
Ingram CoreSource: Existing and new publishing clients can work with Ingram to produce and distribute audiobooks narrated by Apple Books.
Link to the rest at Apple Books for Authors
The OP contains audio samples from four different AI narrators.
To PG, who’s not an audiobook expert, the samples sound pretty good. These are early days for Artificial Intelligence. PG expects to see more interesting and commercially successful AI programs during 2023.
PG is happy to be corrected by those more familiar with audiobooks, but he doesn’t think an audiobook narrator is the equivalent of a voice actor. In the audiobooks PG has listened to (not many) the narrator pretty much fades into the background and doesn’t have the sort of unique voice or delivery PG associates with a voice actor.
The video provides some voice actor examples.