Audible’s new romance audiobooks service uses machine learning to jump to the sex scenes

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Let’s admit it: you probably aren’t reading that romance novel for the plot. Or its literary value. Audible knows this, and is today launching a new collection of romance-themed audiobooks that come with a handy feature that lets you skip right to the action. Called “Take Me To The Good Part,” the feature will fast-forward you to the steamy sections of the audiobook, says Audible.

The feature was built in response to romance reader and listener feedback, the company notes. And Audible has doubled down on these customers’ desire to do away with the pretense that they’re actually interested in reading by debuting “Take Me To The Good Part” in over 100 Audible Romance package titles. The company plans to bring the technology to more selections over time, it says.

The feature is part of a new package of books under the Audible Romance brand, which is being sold as an add-on to an Audible membership for $6.95 per month, or as a standalone service for $14.95 per month. The package includes access to thousands of romance audiobooks, including best sellers and Audible Originals. There’s no limit on how many you can “read” monthly, either, as with Audible’s main subscription.

Participating authors include Nora Roberts, Sylvia Day, Debbie Macomber, Robyn Carr, and others.

There’s technology under the hood that’s powering Audible’s ability to find the “good parts.” Audible is using machine learning to identify key words and phrases, as well as groups of words, in order to determine where things get hot and heavy. The company has even gone so far as to identify 10 type of so-called “good parts,” such as “flirty banter,” “first meeting,” “first kiss,” and one it dubs “hot, hot, hot” – aka the sex scenes.

But just like how porn often drives technological innovations that later become mainstream – like adoption of the VCR back in the day, for example – we can only hope that this machine learning technology is later rolled out to all digital books, audio and otherwise, to classify scenes that are also “good parts,” but for non-romantic reasons.

Along with the Romance package and its flagship feature, Audible has also rolled out a way to classify books by level of steaminess. (You know, so you can find those with more “good parts.”) Its illustrated “steaminess meter” ranks books on a scale that goes from sweet to simmering to sizzling to hot damn and o-o-omg. Yes, really. 

And you can delve into your particular fetishes micro-genres more easily too, as the new Audible Romance service can identify 32 of these romance sub-genres and 122 story and character tropes that will let you find those that are a direct match with your interests.

The program is live now and includes a free trial.

Featured image credit: Carlos Ciudad Photos/Getty Images