Posts Tagged ‘ebook’

How to turn a large ebook into a series of musical podcast episodes or audiobooks

June 29, 2010 Leave a comment

There’s a lot more online reading material today than ever, and that’s only going to grow.  We can use them in many other ways than just read.   For example, we can do interesting transformations like text-to-speech.  For large text content, probably the best usage of text-to-speech is to create a recording and listen on-to-go.  In this tutorial, we’ll use VocaTalk to turn an ebook into a musical audiobook or podcast.

I’m going to use a public domain book (H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds) from Project Gutenberg.  You could also use any other html, pdf, word or text content, or anything that can be represented in one of these formats.  We’ll even put background music and some sound effects that make listening easier.

To do this, you need to download an install VocaTalk Personal Podcast.

1. Download VocaTalk Personal Podcast.

2. Request free beta license.

3. Launch VocaTalk and activate the beta license using ‘License’ button on the activities pane and then ‘Enter New Activation Key’.  If you don’t activate the app, you can still use the demo version which has some limitations.

Now let’s generate the podcast episodes, or audiobooks (mp3 files).

1. Launch VocaTalk.

2. Copy and paste the contents of the full novel into the document editor of VocaTalk.

3. Click ‘Create new podcast episode‘ link at the bottom of the document editor.

VocaTalk Document Editor, Podcast Episode Creator

4. VocaTalk will automatically select a name for the episode(s) based on the contents.  You can change it here.

5. By default VocaTalk will use all the music in your library as background music, but you can select albums you want by clicking on the musical note icon.

VocaTalk background music selector

6. By default VocaTalk will use a default album art for the target podcast folder, but you can select an image from your library or form internet.

VocaTalk Album Art Selector

7. Optionally you can select some interesting audio effects in the podcast episode creator.

8. Select the target podcast in the podcast episode creator.  In this example I use ‘My Sci-fi books’ podcast that I created earlier.  But you can just create a new podcast by clicking on ‘Let me create a new podcast first’ link.  After you create a podcast, you can come back to this screen by selecting ‘Edit Document’.

9. Click ‘Create‘ button in the podcast episode creator.

10. If the document is large, VocaTalk will suggest splitting it into multiple episodes.

VocaTalk podcast episode splitter

11. VocaTalk will create episodes and open the ‘Podcast Manager’.  You can click ‘Not Generated’ link to generate an episode.  VocaTalk will use all the available voices installed on your system in the same recording.  Each paragraph is read by a different speaker to make the listening less monotonous.  The voice modulation effect makes it even more fun.

VocaTalk Podcast Manager

Once the generation is done for an episode, you can just click on the ‘Play’ button on the episode to play it right away.  Or you can click on the ‘Open podcast folder’ to access the generated .mp3 files to copy to your mp3 player.

To subscribe to this podcast and open in iTunes, click on ‘Open podcast in iTunes’ link at the top of the podcast folder.

VocaTalk podcast in iTunes

Of course most of the steps above are optional.  The quickest way to do the same thing is to just paste some content, click ‘Create new podcast episode’, and then click ‘Create’ button.  VocaTalk will use the default settings and all available music in your library and queue the episode(s) in the podcast folder.  Then you can generate the episodes and download to iTunes whenever you want.  The more music in your library the better the experience.  You can rip your CD music, save to your library and use it in the background of VocaTalk episodes.

iTunes will make sure only the unlistened episodes are on your iPod.  So using podcasts is much more comfortable than managing mp3 files manually.

You can generate an endless stream of podcast episodes from any content and listen anywhere.  You don’t even have to spare time for reading anymore.  Just grab your iPod and do whatever you want!

Here’s an mp3 episode of ‘The War of the Worlds” generated by VocaTalk.