(Naples, FL – 6/22/2007). ArcheBooks Publishing (www.archebooks.com) announced today the release of its first “mBook,” an Audio Book recorded in MP3 file format. However, this MP3 Audio Book isn’t simply a narrated novel with audio files compressed from traditional CD format into the MP3 format – no, the narrator itself is a digital creation. This is an example of state-of-the-art Text-To-Speech (TTS) technology, using natural sounding human voice engines created and commercially licensed to ArcheBooks by NeoSpeech (www.neospeech.com).
ArcheBooks’ first mBook title is A Prophecy Forgotten by M. B. Weston, an epic Young Adult fantasy/adventure novel, and one of ArcheBooks’ hottest selling hardcover titles. Robert Gelinas, ArcheBooks Publisher, explains "We chose A Prophecy Forgotten to launch this new program for two key reasons. One, the popularity of the book leverages a fantastic buzz around this first book of The Elysian Chronicles, renowned by parents and teachers for its ‘clean’ nature and great appeal to kids and adults alike. And two, we believe this kind of Audio Book technology is perfect for the iPod Generation, who has no comfort-zone issues with downloadable entertainment content, organizing playlists and tracks—in this context a complete novel and its chapters—and enjoying that content while on the go or anywhere."
Ralph Wolf, ArcheBooks EVP of Sales and Marketing added, "This is a perfect example of the emerging virtual-media entertainment world of today, where the physical media of the CD, the plastic cases, the printed matter, etc. are no longer needed—just the content, in a conveniently downloadable format for enjoyment on universal digital playback platforms, whether that be an iPod, an iPhone, a Zune, MP3 player, a laptop, whatever. There is no waiting for a book to be delivered by the postman, UPS or FedEx. It’s never out of stock or backordered, no shipping charges—just the instant gratification of immediate enjoyment."
"Immediate Enjoyment" is a relative term, but close enough when you consider that in MP3 format, a 300 page 98,000 word book in hardcover, comprising over 10 hours of audio, now fits nicely in 75 megabytes of uncompressed data, or 64 megabytes downloaded in a compressed Zip file. For the DSL and Cable Internet users, that’s a download of five to ten minutes. For the dial-up user, they’d better be prepared for a wait of up to an hour.
"Another serendipitous facet of Audio Books in MP3," said Gelinas, "is that the dynamic audio range needed for voice is far less than that of high-fidelity music. Music is normally recorded in a 64 KHz spectrum, whereas voice traditionally has been more than adequate with far less, as telephone systems have been for decades. The smallest MP3 sampling rates are able to achieve dramatic compression ratios yet maintain a clean crisp sound. Hence, goodbye 6 to 8 CDs to listen to an entire book—hello eight minute download.” Free samples of mBook MP3 files are available on the ArcheBooks website (www.archebooks.com). Both the Prologue and Chapter 1 of A Prophecy Forgotten are available to sample for free, approximately 40 minutes worth of audio.
Wolf noted, "Admittedly, a computer generated voice isn’t a voice-over professional or actor performing a reading of a novel. Rather, thanks to our friends at NeoSpeech, it’s a very natural-sounding human voice that reads in a very neutral, dispassionate manner. For some people it’s a voice that takes a few minutes to get used to hearing, but once you do, and the images of the story begin to form in your mind, the voice is no longer the primary stimulus of the entertainment experience, rather the talent of the storyteller who wrote it. And the price of the mBook reflects the distinction from professionally narrated works as well, with complete, unabridged mBooks priced as much as half the price of traditional Audio Books."
ArcheBooks invites everyone to visit its website and experience the mBook for themselves. Gelinas said, "Good storytelling is good storytelling, whether that be found in a printed book, in an eBook, or listening to an Audio Book. The mediums that serve as the vehicles to share that storytelling content with a wide variety of audiences must be flexible and adaptable to each new communications platform in the ever-evolving digital age we live in."
M. B. Weston is not only an award-winning writer, but also a talented and motivating speaker. She has been scheduled as a guest speaker at many schools and events throughout Florida.
A Prophecy Forgotten (ISBN-10: I-59507-I69-5; ISBN-13: 978-159507-169-9) is available now. Her next book, Out of the Shadows: Book II of the Elysian Chronicles, will be available in December 2007.