My latest short story "The Night the Lights Came On"

Friday, July 24, 2015

Am I the Only One Doing This?

Siri reads my eBooks to me. Does anyone else do this? I'm guessing not many. Let me explain why I do this.

I love consuming my fiction via audio. If you know me you've probably come to that conclusion. I always have several audiobooks in line waiting to be listened to but I also own TONS of eBooks. I also love reading paper books and eBooks but I have this problem - it's really hard for me to find time to read books but I have 2 hours of commuting every day. I'm driving so I don't have an option of reading as someone riding a bus or train might have, but I have a nice chunk of time every day to consume fiction. So I listen. 

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Now text to speech and I go way back. I've actually been listening to fiction through a robotic voice for a long time so to me Siri is so much more realistic than what I'm used to that it's extremely easy for me to just hear the story through her voice and zone her out. I almost forget it's a robot reading to me because I just get into the story. I found one app long ago called TTS that has a robotic voice but it got the timing and enunciation right so even though it sounded robotic it didn't have awkward pauses and weird rising and falling of the pitch to make it sound weird. I just pictured myself having a droid like C3PO from STAR WARS reading a story to me. I got used to it. Soon the voice faded and all I heard was the story instead of focusing on the fact that the voice telling me the story sounded so robotic.

Now on my iPhone I can make Siri read eBooks to me and it's a feature I couldn't live without. I used it all the time and love it. I "read" website posts and articles this way and review my own writing too. I used Text to Speech to review this post before publishing it! It's great.

So, am I alone here? Sound off in the comments. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I do the same thing with Text to Speech but it never occurred to me to have Siri do the reading. Is it simply a matter of opening the book (in a Kindle app for example) and double-tapping to get Siri and telling her to read this book to you?

    1. There are two ways to do if and unfortunately no that's not a way but that would be nice! You can either turn "voice over" on in settings (General > Accessibility > Voice Over) and you can change the speed there. Alternatively in the newer OS you can simply swipe down from above the top of the screen with two fingers. I've found for some reason I can't change the speed when I do it that second way, even though there are controls for it, and it's a lower quality and reads really fast but I like this method once I'm into a book and know where the story is going. It's nice to zip through the words and to have this feature without your phone in Voice Over mode.

      You can also set up for the home button to turn voiceover on when you triple tap it. That's what I do because navigating your iPhone with voice over on is a pain. I also lock the orientation so that when I set my phone down next to me it doesn't ever switch to landscape mode because this makes Siri stop reading and say Landscape.