Remove Virtual Voice AI Narration From Audible

Why?

As an avid audiobook reviewer, I understand the amount of energy, work, time, and so much more that goes into creating an audiobook. That’s why I love Human Voices, you know that they put the effort in to make it the best book that they could. And there are all different kinds of skills that narrators possess. Some are great at voices for large fantasy books, some just have a knack for being able to perform LitRPGs, and other’s can make you laugh just by the tone and intonation of their voice. And all of them are important. There’s just something special about the human voice bringing a story to life that virtual voices can’t quite match. I obviously wrote a piece about how much Audible’s new “Virtual Voice” addition was flooding the market. I haven’t kept up on it as much (it’s still a problem and I assume getting worse and worse) other than to update a few friends on how bleak it is.

And that’s because at first, I wanted Audible to fix the problem. Originally I and A LOT of others reached out to Audible, hoping they would build a feature to filter out these virtual voice narrations, but unfortunately, these pleas fell on deaf ears. Determined to find a solution, I turned to the internet for help and stumbled upon an idea from an unknown source on Facebook (PLEASE let me know who originally figured this out, I owe you A LOT of gratitude and thanks).

How?

The idea was simple yet brilliant: create a userscript that adds a checkbox to the Audible website, allowing users to easily remove the “Virtual Voice” keyword from the URL. Inspired by this ingenious workaround, I set out to create my own userscript using Tampermonkey. Now, I am not a javascript master, I’m barely even a novice so there is likely some holes and issues with this. I have only tested it in Chrome – and I also have only tested it with the US site (since I live in the US). It’s currently built to support US, UK, and Canada – I don’t even know if the Virtual Voice program is outside of the US right now though)

After some trial and error, I successfully created a userscript that adds a “Remove Virtual Voice” checkbox to Audible’s browsing pages. When checked, the checkbox appends &keywords=-virtual_voice to the URL, effectively filtering out virtual voice narrations. Right now the checkbox will only remove virtual voice results, checking it again will not add them back. I wanted to call this out because I assume most of us won’t ever want to remove it – but just in case – you can head up to the URL bar and just delete “&keywords=-virtual_voice” and it will go back to normal.

However, I’m still working out some kinks in the script, and I could use your help! If you’re familiar with userscripts/javascript and know how to modify the code to make the checkbox work as intended (check for “on,” stay checked if it’s on, uncheck to remove, and stay unchecked if the keyword isn’t there), please reach out to me. I’d also love to give credit to the original source of this idea, so if you know who came up with it, please let me know!

In the meantime, if you’re like me and prefer audiobooks narrated by real humans, give this userscript a try. It’s a small but impactful change that can make your Audible browsing experience much more enjoyable. Happy listening! I know this isn’t ideal but it’s better than wading through the thousands of books every week that are released.

Add the Userscript to your browser

To use/utilize this you will need to install:

  • Tampermonkey (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Opera)
  • Greasemonkey (Firefox)
    • Note: I have NOT tested this outside of Chrome, but the features should work elsewhere

Then you need to grab and add my specific userscript here:

I also added it to GitHub so that I could save/maintain it moving forward. Feel free to branch or add in bugs/additional features there too.

Once it’s installed all you need to do is head over to Audible, find any search/browse page, and click the checkbox – you’ll quickly see your results go from:

to

What if I don’t want to install a userscript/don’t know how?

You don’t NEED this script, I just wanted to make it a one-click option for myself (and share it with others who love audiobooks as much as I do).

The steps are simple, you can add -virtual_voice to any search term in audible and it will add it.

You can also go up to the URL bar and at the very end of the URL you can add &keywords=-virtual_voice

make sure you add it all, it starts with a minus and there’s an underscore between the two words.

 

Like what I made and want to show your support (NOT required)?

Brian

5 thoughts on “How I Fixed Audible’s “Virtual Voice” Problem Myself (and you can too)

  1. Thank you thank you thank you,!! I just add the &keywords=-virtual_voice to the end of the url in safari on my ipad and it works great. Please think about going to reddit and letting the other frustrated people know what you figured out. I’ve been calling,emailing and Chatting with Audible since December to add this feature to no avail.

  2. Thank you, thank you! I wanted to email Audible about this, but could only chat or phone which I feel would be useless. I can now browse freely again. 🙂

  3. Thank you. This has pissed me off especially after the strikes from last year.
    I thought I was the only one. Then this morning I typed in search ” what is up with virtual voice in Audible?” Lots popped up. Reddit especially. Thank you again for the quick fix.

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