Make your own audio book using text to speech – Save your eyes, time

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Why text to speech

Screenshot of Balabolka
Balabolka

I’m taking a MOOC (a Massive Open Online Course) on Coursera. It’s a literature course on Fantasy and Science Fiction and I noticed on the forums some people were worried about the amount of reading. I’m pretty busy these days so I decided I’d do at least some of my reading on the road by making my own audio books with text to speech. I think other people might be interested in how to do it. 

It couldn’t be simpler.

How to convert text to MP3

Text to speech has gotten a lot better. Good enough, in fact, to listen to a whole book.There are many free tools that help you convert text into MP3. One I use is Balabolka.

All you do is copy the text from the eBook file, paste it into Balabolka and choose the Save audio file option in the File menu. I actually prefer the Split and convert to audio files option to get me more smaller files. (See a screenshot). And that’s it.

For advanced users, Balabolka offers many other options but even the simple stuff will give you a lot of power.

You can much better results with commercial voices. I like those from http://www.ivona.com. You can get a 30-day trial from their website to see if the . Unfortunately, their license does not permit the sharing of rendered files. But I at least uploaded a sample of one story to give people an idea what it sounds like.

A note on the MOOC

So far I’m very impressed with how this one is set up. I’ve tried other MOOCs before but both were on specialist subjects – one on online education and one on programming but this is the first general subject MOOC. I’m don’t really expect to complete all of it but I’ll follow a few modules to get an idea of how it works.