HarperCollins Teams With AI Software Firm for Audiobook Narration

ElevenLabs and HarperCollins partner to use synthetic speech for audiobooks

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

April 22, 2024

2 Min Read
A pile of multicolored books stacked up high against a blue background. A pair of white headphones sits atop them.
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HarperCollins and ElevenLab have teamed to bring the startup’s synthetic speech technology power to the publishing firm’s audiobooks.

ElevenLabs’ text-to-speech Project technology will help create non-English language audiobooks. The platform can create an audiobook in just one hour.

Users like HarperCollins can select a bespoke voice to read its books, including customization options that allow them to adjust pause lengths and assign specific passages to different speakers.

ElevenLabs said tools like its Project platform can reduce audiobook production costs.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with HarperCollins and delighted that our technology is making it possible for more books in their incredible catalog of works to become an audiobook,” said Mati Staniszewski, ElevenLabs CEO.

“Without AI, there simply wouldn’t be the time or resources to make this happen. Now, every author can see their work come to life in audio, readers can be offered more choice, and the linguistic barriers of content can be dissolved.”

The synthetic voice tool won’t replace voice actors entirely. HarperCollins’ AI use is designed to be complementary to voice actor-led productions.

New York-based ElevenLabs enables users to create natural AI voices for content creation and marketing materials.

Related:AI Startup Roundup: AI Voices That Sound Almost Human

The startup claims its AI-generated voices are of a quality that is nearly indistinguishable from humans with less than a second of latency.

Its AI tech is already being used by audiobook streaming service Storytel for VoiceSwitcher, which allows users to flip between different AI narrators.

Away from audiobooks, ElevenLabs provides its synthetic voices to hardware maker Rabbit in its sell-out R1 device, which responds to user queries through audio.

Earlier this year, ElevenLabs came under scrutiny when it was revealed that its voice cloning technology was used to produce fake audio of President Biden attempting to mislead New Hampshire voters ahead of the state’s primary.

ElevenLabs has since suspended the account of the creator of the deepfake and banned other users from creating audio messages of the president.

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ChatGPT / Generative AI

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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