Most of us I imagine are by now aware that anyone can publish pretty much anything to iTunes and Amazon. When it comes to classics that are out of copyright that means endless fun. Text downloaded for nothing from Project Gutenberg reformatted, well or badly, you simply don’t know. Then just slap on a price and a crappy cover and… you’re a publisher!
But how about this. Take those public domain texts and run them through a computer speech programme. So you get Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle and a lot of other greats seemingly read by a female Dalek, without feeling, intonation, comprehension of the context or all those wonderful and difficult skills great audio narrators bring to the game.
Then bung this junk all together and charge £7.99 for the audiobook of, say, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
OK. Pick yourself off the floor. I’m not kidding.
Here is Conan Doyle’s The Copper Beeches if you want a trial listen (you won’t need more than that, honest).
Here is the full list of ‘audio books’ from the inaptly-named Eternal Classic Audio Books who are behind this ridiculous venture.
How the hell does this crap get up there? Search me. And let’s be clear — there’s a seven-day return on anything you buy from Amazon. So anyone who gets mugged by this nonsense can get their money back there pretty quickly. Apple’s iTunes hates refunding stuff unless you squawk very loudly in my experience. So good luck with them. One more reason I buy from Amazon, not Apple.
But really… what the hell is happening in this business? How can anyone try to pull a stunt like this and get it up there, available to buy?
I’m baffled. Eternal Classic Audio, whoever you are, please sit down and look at yourself in the mirror. This is no way to escape that job at Wal-Mart. Do us all, and yourself, a favour and take down this crap now.