Forget foreplay -- Audible's new machine-learning feature gets romance readers right to the good part

  • Audible’s new “Take me to the good part” feature skips right to the juiciest passages.
  • The feature is a part of Audible’s new Romance Package.

Who needs foreplay? With Audible’s new machine-learning feature, fittingly dubbed “Take me to the good part,” you can now gloss over all of those tedious plot points in your favourite romance novel and head right to the juicy bits.

The company’s latest feature complements its romance collection with an algorithm that gleans sexually suggestive language from over 110 books, classifying passion-saturated passages on a “steaminess” scale with indicators like “sweet,” “hot damn,” “simmering,” and the ultimate: “O-O-OMG.”

Audible’s “Take me to the good part” feature further refines illicit passages by category. Readers can now search for erotic selections filled with relics of romantic lore like “immortals,” “animal/beasts,” “viscounts,” and that doleful byproduct of the conventional tryst: “secret babies.”

The feature is an added incentive for listeners to join Audible’s Romance Package, a bespoke subscription service for readers of romance. It’s a smart move on the part of Audible to capitalise on romance readers, which make up a particularly avid consumer base for online content. The subscription service is flat rate of $US14.95 a month or $US6.95 per month for Audible and Kindle Unlimited members, and provides access to thousands of romantic novels, all of which are read in the “steamiest voices.”

There’s hopes among the SparkNotes-inclined high school set that the feature will be applied to other genres in the future as well — boiling down the only the most essential auditory passages of the classics.

Audible has gone granular with its tagging system, including 41 categories, like “animals/beasts,” “immortals,” and “time travel”; 63 character tropes, such as “hockey player,” “Navy SEAL,” and “viscount”; and 67 cherished set-ups that include “age gap,” “secret babies,” “brought together by a bet,” and “fake relationship.” The initiative — and the success of the romance genre — is a testament to the apparently tireless joy of watching people get down and get together, with seemingly infinite permutations.

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