Want Siri to to Turn Your eBooks into Audiobooks? Sorry, Macworld’s Trick Can’t Do That

Want Siri to to Turn Your eBooks into Audiobooks? Sorry, Macworld's Trick Can't Do That DeBunking There's a really cool post over at Macworld UK today that is being passed around, tweeted, and shared. It shows you what looks to be a hidden feature in iBooks, but unfortunately it is not nearly as cool as that post makes it sound.

Mark Hattersley is telling everyone that you can use Siri to turn your iBooks into audiobooks:

Even though the ability to use Siri to turn eBooks into audiobooks is a fantastic feature, it's not a stock part of iOS and requires a little bit of fiddling with the Settings and this nifty scrolling trick that we'll show you here.

Cool, yes, but his trick doesn't do what he claims.

Specifically, his trick doesn't actually turn an ebook into an audiobook. All that Mark has figured out is how to select a large piece of text and then have Siri read that piece of text to you.

Wow. Gosh gollee gee.

The catch is that it only works with the text you selected (a detail that is not at all clear in Mark's post).

When I tried this trick and Siri didn't continue to read the rest of the ebook, I was confused. Eventually I figured out that Siri would only read the selected text and no more. That means that if you want Siri to read the entire ebook then you will first have to select the entire text of the ebook.

Don't you hate it when bloggers incorrectly describe tricks like this? I do; the let down is so disappointing.

Macworld UK

Update: Baldur Bjarnson has pointed out in the comments that there is another way to get Siri to read your ebooks to you, and it can be done from inside the ebook:

Just set your iPad/iPhone to turn VoiceOver on when you triple click the home button. That way when you want your iPad to read a book to you, just go to iBooks, open the book, triple click your home button, tap a line in the book, swipe down with two fingers and VoiceOver will take care of the rest. It’ll read the entire thing to the end if you let it.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

8 Comments

  1. David19 March, 2013

    Isn’t this what Amazon was doing with the previous kindle back when their kindles had audio support?

    Reply
    1. fjtorres19 March, 2013

      Kindle TTS reads the whole text non-stop.

      Reply
  2. Brad19 March, 2013

    As a comment on the original article points out, a much more effective way to do this is to make use of Voice Over, part of the accessibility support in iOS. This is designed for visually limited or impaired readers, but it can be used by anyone. And it’s good for authors to test how well their book is conveyed to readers who can’t see it.

    Reply
  3. Dinah Lee Küng19 March, 2013

    You could just select your whole document (book file) and get your Mac to read it into Audio Hijack, but it would still sound like a mindless computer. I use this as an add-on for proofreading, buy I’d hardly call it an audio book.

    Reply
  4. Baldur Bjarnason19 March, 2013

    iOS actually does have the feature of reading your book out to you, properly. Just not in the way Macworld UK recommends.

    Just set your iPad/iPhone to turn VoiceOver on when you triple click the home button. That way when you want your iPad to read a book to you, just go to iBooks, open the book, triple click your home button, tap a line in the book, swipe down with two fingers and VoiceOver will take care of the rest. It’ll read the entire thing to the end if you let it.

    I do this all the time to test ebooks. There’s a whole lot of ebook production errors that become obvious when a book is read to you by an automaton that you’d otherwise miss.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder19 March, 2013

      I didn’t know about the tripple tap. I thought you had to enable VoiceOver from the accessibility menu in settings.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  5. Janice in GA19 March, 2013

    I thought the article was pretty clear abt Siri reading only the text you select, because my first thought was that you could do a chapter at a time.

    Also, you have to turn on the triple-tap feature, in(I think) the Accessibilty section of Settings. I tried it for a while. I finally turned it off because I was always turning it on by accident. O.o

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder19 March, 2013

      I still think describing it as “ebooks into audiobooks” is misleading.

      Reply

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