New Audiobook: Boardwalk Playground

Boardwalk Playground

With all of the excitement around the International Ombuds Association‘s annual conference and the work needing attention upon my return home, I haven’t yet had a chance to share some moderately exciting personal news. Well, I haven’t had the chance until now, so here goes.

My book Boardwalk Playground: The Making, Remaking, and Unmaking of Atlantic City came out in 2015, with paperback and ebook options. While three of my other books–Roll the Bones, Grandissimo, and At the Sands–have audiobooks with narration by Eric Jason Martin, I never had a Boardwalk Playground audiobook produced.

Why not? Though it pains me to say this, Boardwalk Playground has been my most modestly-selling book, and I didn’t think that it would sell enough audio copies to justify the expense and effort of creating an audiobook.

Then I saw a notice from Kindle Direct Publishing about their virtual voice narration, which uses some kind of AI to bring the book from text to sound.

I’ve been something of an AI skeptic, so you might wonder why I would take this step. I have two reasons. One, I was never going to work with a narrator to make an audio version of this book, so I’m not depriving anyone of creative work. Two, why not? It might give someone the chance to read, er, listen to the book who might not have.

My only regret in the whole thing is that none of the voice samples they had featured someone with a Delaware Valley/South Jersey accent, which would have made the whole thing more authentic but probably a bit incomprehensible, since the accent is a bit of an acquired taste. (Quick sample here; go to about 4 minutes into the Kevin Bacon video.)

Boardwalk Playground is all about Atlantic City, from its founding in 1854 through several distinct eras. In a lot of ways it is my most personal book, since it is about the place that I grew up, and I ended up writing about several people that I knew personally and places that I frequented.

So if you are interested in having a listen, you can now hear Boardwalk Playground via Amazon or Audible.

If you would rather check out an ebook or print version, you can find a link to your preferred bookseller here.

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