By January 12, 2009 21 Comments Read More →

Text Synchronized Audiobooks: iClassix Apple app & Librivox

Coming soon to a media player near you… Text Synchronized Audiobooks

What’s a Text Synchronized Audiobook? An audiobook that is synced to a page view or scrolling text on a display screen. Members of the Librivox community, those who voluntarily record public domain books for free download, have discussed methods of adding text to audio in a Librivox Forum thread titled Suggestion: synchronized audio/text. Read this description of Phil Shapiro’s Text Synchronized Audiobook literacy mashup project using Maria Uther’s LibriVox recording of Helen Keller’s The Story of My Life, and see (and hear!) a demo here. Interesting first steps.

Tantor Media publishes a large number of audiobook Classics + eBook titles that include the audio on CD or MP3 disc, with the entire book included on disc as a PDF file – not a truly synchronized audiobook, but a package that combines a top-notch professional narration, such as the Booklist 2008 Editors’ Choice title Robinson Crusoe, with a text that can be read on any PDF-capable screen. The user then has the option of viewing the text file (and clicking the page turns) while listening to the audio – a do-it-yourself synchronization.

A new app for the iPhone is the iClassix, scrolling text public domain audiobooks available through iTunes for 99 cents each. Posted reviews of various titles range from Horrible! to Great! I want more! When I go to the app developer’s web site, I find this:

AppSessions LLC is a mobile application development company located in Rockville, Maryland. Established in the summer of 2008…

But when I click the web site’s link for information on their iPhone Audiobook Series, there is only a bad link. So here’s a quote from the iTunes blurb:

This great title is now available on the iScroll. iScroll is a Text Synchronized Audiobook (TSA) reader that enables you to experience you favorite audiobook in a whole new way. Choose to read, listen or both, its in your hands, literally.
Some key features include:
Continuous playback of all chapters
Scrolling text as audio is played
Font size adjust
Scroll speed adjust
Bookmark feature to start where it left off
We intend to produce quality products for your learning pleasure. We honor and appreciate any feedback from you to further enhance our products.
LANGUAGES: English REQUIREMENTS: Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch
Requires iPhone 2.2 Software Update

I’d love to hear from someone who has downloaded this app to learn more details!

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About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

21 Comments on "Text Synchronized Audiobooks: iClassix Apple app & Librivox"

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  1. DRSmith452@yahoo.com' Phyllis Smith says:

    This is terrific – for years my child needed text + audio because of a reading disability.Learning styles are recognized – audio, print, kenetic and it’s time someone recognized the need for audio + print. If it could only be done for textbooks – and on a computer screen – not in a 30 pound book to be carried around on a teenagers shoulder. I challenge all text book publisher executives to carry multiple textbooks day in and day out in their briefcases. Thank you iPhone /iScroll developers!

  2. d.e.wittkower@gmail.com' D. Wittkower says:

    As one of the recorders of the audiobooks being sold by Appsessions LLC, I have some mixed feelings.

    Our recordings are in the public domain, so they have every right to alter and sell our work. But I do wish they’d mention the name of the recorder, especially for solo recordings. And mention that their description in the sidebar was written by someone other than them. It isn’t copyright infringement, but it is plagiarism.

    Most of all, though, I wish they’d mention Librivox.org They’re trying to make money using our recordings; I wish they’d “pay back into the system” by not editing out any mention of our organization. I can’t find any contact info for Appsessions, otherwise I’d write them. Also, I can’t leave a comment on their app page unless I buy the app, so that’s a bit annoying too.

    That said, the benefit of the synchronized scrolling text is huge (provided it’s well-executed), especially for those learning English. I hope a company that’s less shady develops this soon!

  3. d.e.wittkower@gmail.com' D. Wittkower says:

    And here we go:
    http://www.travelingclassics.com/

    Same idea, same price, but less shady! Here’s the LibriVox forum thread where they let us know about their work, and where a LV forum member gives a good review of their product:

    http://librivox.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17790

  4. vaziri.amirreza@gmail.com' RV says:

    Hello. I am the CEO of Appsessions. I would like the opportunity to discuss these issues with all of you. Please feel free to email me at vaziri.amirreza@gmail.com with any questions and or comments.

  5. Mary says:

    I am so pleased that Amirreza Vaziri, CEO of Appsessions, has entered the discussion. Feel free to contact him with any other questions or concerns!
    Mary

  6. I for one am glad of audio books as a sufferer of dyslexia, these recordings on my ipod have helped me enormously.

    Cheers Vance

  7. tessmoon2007@gmail.com' Tess says:

    I just purchased the new iPhone 3Gs and happened to download the iClassix app of “Poems Every Child Should Know”. I came upon your site looking for a fix. As it turns out, the audio works fine; however, not only does the text not scroll automatically, I am also not able to scroll through the chapter material manually. It immediately reverts back to the top of the given page.

    I tried sending an email to their feedback address only to receive a Delivery Status Failure from the web server.

    It may have only been 99 cents but the disappointment in not being able to access the written material remains.

  8. Jamesdeene@gmail.com' James Anthony says:

    App will not scroll, no way to contact seller, emal just bounces back.

  9. rippgrim@hotmail.com' Marlon says:

    Thats great material, like your stuff, just passing to say hi!

  10. dandelion0708@hotmail.com' jeremy says:

    I have bought several books from iClassix app. I also have prolems: the audio works fine; But it does not work as they said. The text not scroll at all, not able to scroll manually when listen. It immediately goes back to first page.
    So disppointed!

  11. dandelion0708@hotmail.com' jeremy says:

    I bought several book for appsessions. I cannot read when I listen. How to solve the problems?

    • Mary says:

      Wow – it looks like they have some problems. I hope you can contact them through their website for a solution to your problem!

  12. Can listen while following the text. Sometimes, I cannot keep up with the audio so this is nice stuff!

  13. vaziri.amirreza@gmail.com' Amirreza Vaziri says:

    Hello everyone. I am the managing partner at appSessions. I am so sorry to hear about the scroll issue.

    We are in the process of completely revamping our software. I assure all of you that once these updates are complete, you will all be pleased with the result. You will all get an upgrade of the current book you have on the iPhone.

    Secondly, because of the inconvenience, I would like to offer all of you on the this board who have had issues to please email me once the update is complete and I will offer you a complementry title of your choice.

    We are here to provide you with the best reading experience and once these updates are complete, I am sure you will agree with me on this notion.

    I am sorry about the problems, but rest assure, these will be resolved in a few weeks time.

    Please email me with any questions and or concerns.

    Thank you.

    Amirreza Vaziri

  14. kool@koolmoedee.com' Kool Moe Dee says:

    I have ebook apps from iClassix and Appsessions, they both seem to be from Rockville Maryland and use basically the same reader. All of these apps that I have get the same problem – no scrolling and no text sync. The email and support links are dead and there is no other customer support.

    I can understand bugs and other technical issues especially with the iPhone OS upgrades, but at least you could have working support and email.

  15. l.fatamorgana@gmail.com' Lorenzo says:

    I am very dissappointed: no instructions, no scrolling, return to top of page… why are the products Mr Vaziri is selling not withdrawn immediately until the revamping which is apparently ongoing solves these issues? what a scam!

  16. arvaziri@aol.com' amirrzea vaziri says:

    Hi. Please email me at support@iscroll.com for any issues, I will personally respond to all of you! Sorry about the problems you are facing. Thanks.

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