There's a "startup" idea, I'm carrying with me for quite a while. This tweet by Tobias Tom convinced me to finally write a bit about it.
I love audio books and I love podcasts. It's a rather young love. I'm a late-bloomer when it comes to audio content. Unfortunately I find very little time to sit down and read lately. Especially after work and spending time with the family, I am often too tired to read a book in bed and that's pretty sad.
But with audio books or podcasts you can fill all sorts of gaps during the day with a similar experience and easily sidetrack your thoughts or learn something new. I started listening to podcasts and books on my way to the office, while running or non-challenging coding and it's wonderful.
On the web I come across tons of fantastic articles each day, but I have to skip way too many or quickly skim them.
There's so much knowledge available online these days and no way to keep on top of it at all. What I'd really love to have is a service that I can pay for to get good audio versions of high quality articles on the web.
Listeners would bookmark articles to be read by professional readers and voice actors. You'd pay per article or a monthly fee. Payments would be shared amongst all readers depending on the reading time of the submitted articles. The more articles are being listened to, the more budget for additional articles. There could be some kind of quality levels. Articles read by really good readers would cost more than from "hobbyist" readers and of course the payment would be different as well. A bigger group of hobbyist readers could provide faster access to the most recent articles, when there are no professional versions yet — a bit like SD and HD for videos. A good review system for articles and readers would be crucial.
Audio versions could be embedded for free below the original article as long as the article is licensed under a creative commons or non-commercial open-source license. For professional publishers the service would offer an enterprise service, that adds an additional revenue stream to the platform.
It's a pretty rough concept and I'm just putting it out there in case…
a) someone has already built something like that and I missed it — make sure to let me know.
b) someone wants to build it — please do!