Audible's Machine Learning Lets Romance Novel Lovers Skip to the Porn

By Tom Pritchard on at

Admittedly I've never read anything remotely close to a romance novel, but I can only assume that people read them for the same reasons people read Playboy or watch porn. Not for the plot or the articles, if you know what I mean. But they still have plenty of fluff that passes for plot that you have to read through. Well Audible's going to help you if you just want the good parts.

What constitutes the good part differs from person to person (even though you're totally reading those books for the smut), so Audible Romance is going to use data mining and machine learning to help figure out what rattles your chain, so to speak. By figuring out what you want, it can help you get to the juicy sections that bit faster.

Audible is doing this because personal preference plays a big role, and simply bookmarking the more pornographic sections of each book isn't going to suit everyone. So it studies a user's habits and tastes before categorising scenes as one of 10 categories: First Meeting, Flirty Banter, Sexual Tension, First Kiss, I Want You, Trouble in Paradise, It Might Be Love, Declaration of Love, Proposal, plus the sex scene-based Hot Hot Hot. User feedback will also be utilised in order to improve the accuracy of the system.

When asked about the possibility of the machine learning features, better known as 'Take Me to the Good Part', would roll out to the rest of Audible's library, the company was non-committal. That said, if works out well I would be surprised if it didn't happen. Eve if it was just for improving recommendations.

Audible Romance is an all-you-can-read service, rather than the limited one-a-month subscription currently available to audible users. That's available as a stand-alone feature, or as an add-on to an existing subscription. Audible’s chief content officer, Andy Gaies, told The Verge that romance readers are "voracious consumers of content within their genre" noting how some can get through four to six books in a week. That's why it's unlimited.

It's set to go live later today, for the price of $7 per month as an add-on or $15 per month as a stand-alone subscription. UK pricing and availability hasn't been confirmed yet, but don't expect prices to be that much cheaper. 100,000 books will be part of Audible Romance section, while 100 of those will feature 'Take Me to the Good Part'. [The Verge]


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