Brilliance Corp has introduced its ‘Talking Type’ audio electronic book. The first book on disc is ‘Silver’ by Ira Levin, with other titles scheduled for later release. The book is being released in conjunction with Sony Data Discman’s addition of audio capabilities.
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New lines of Talking Book

Audio publisher Brilliance Corp., in conjunction with Sony Electronic Publishing, is expanding into new territory with the release this month of its new Talking Type audio electronic book disc series. Launching the new line is Ira Levin’s Sliver, selected by Sony to be bundled with its new DD-10 EXB electronic book player, which features both text and graphics capabilities.

Says Brilliance president Michael Snodgrass, « We don’t expect people to buy a Data Discman specifically to listen to Sliver; we anticipate that people who have one already will use it to listen to the novel or to other electronic books. It’s an extension of the useful material available for the player. »

Other titles to be released by Brilliance for the DD-10EXB this month are Joseph Wambaugh’s Fugitive Nights; Managing for the Future: The 1990s and Beyond by Peter Drucker; 2020 Vision by Stan Davis and Bill Davidson; and classics, including Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Jack London’s Call of the Wild. Both Sliver and Call of the Wild come on one disc with roughly five hours of listening time, and sell for $34.95 each. The other titles, eight to 10 hours in length, are on two discs and sell for $39.95 each. Following the lead of Brilliance Corp.’s Bookcassette format, the Talking Type electronic books are also unabridged.

You can listen a book in the Car

Why might one want to read a 300-page novel on a 300-character screen? « The concept is not that you sit in front of a screen and try to read a book, » explains Snodgrass. « Now that the Data Discman features audio capabilities, you can listen to a book. It’s convenient and portable. » Consumers who want to travel with audio books will not have to take an audiotape player along as well, if they are already taking a Data Discman, Snodgrass adds, noting that the player can also be used with an existing car speaker system.

All of the Talking Type titles take advantage of the DD-10EXB’s advanced retrieval capabilities, including a bookmark feature, which instantly returns to the last-read page, and an improved search speed.

The new electronic books come on 8 cm. (or 3.14″) CD-ROM discs that hold 190 megabytes of digital data, equivalent to 100,000 pages of text or 32,000 pages of low-resolution graphics–or just under six hours of sound.

The explosion os Electronic books 

Brilliance currently has about 100 titles on its regular list of unabridged audiocassettes–a mix of popular fiction, science fiction and mystery titles, plus several how-to and business books. For its foray into the electronic book business, says Snodgrass, « We’re going to let the customer decide which titles they want in the electronic format. We follow the trends of the market. Titles are selected not only on the basis of proven success as books on paper, but on how well they sound when read aloud. »

The audio publisher intends to produce 18-24 titles in electronic format each year while continuing to produce its regular Bookcassette list. Says Snodgrass, « We’re at a pivotal point, similar to the time when television arrived to compete with radio. But rather than the new technology making the old obsolete, their uses became differentiated. Electronic books offer an enhanced product, making some kinds of information easier to access. The consumer market will define how it will be used. »

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