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Turning on text-to-speech in iBooks

I finally learned how to turn my books in iBooks into audiobooks, by using either VoiceOver or through the Selection menu. This feature has been around for a while, but it took articles from TUAW and Mac OS X Hints to clarify the steps for me.

I prefer the VoiceOver method, but both work fine on iPhone and iPad in iOS 6.

Using VoiceOver

Via a helpful comment in the TUAW article. This is particularly useful for reading continuously, like for longer pieces.

  1. In the iOS Settings app, go to General > scroll down and select Accessibility > scroll down to and select the Triple-click Home section.
  2. Under “Triple-click the Home Button for:” select VoiceOver.
  3. Go into iBooks, and open an ebook. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in pagination (“Book”) or scrolling mode.
  4. Go to a page containing text.
  5. Triple-click the Home Button, which turns on VoiceOver; you should hear, “VoiceOver on…”
  6. Tap on some text; this will read aloud the selected line.
  7. To continue reading, do a 2-finger swipe downwards.
  8. To pause reading, tap on a line of text—or, anywhere in the current page. Note that the selected line will be read aloud, but then VoiceOver will pause.

Using the Selection menu

This is more useful for reading aloud a selection, rather than continuous reading.

  1. In the iOS Settings app, go to General > scroll down and select Accessibility > Under the Vision section, turn on Speak Selection.
  2. Go into iBooks, and make sure that scroll mode is on. That setting is under aA > Themes > Scroll.
  3. Double-tap to select a word; this will bring up the selection menu.
  4. Drag the right-hand selection handle (line-with-a-dot-at-bottom) to select what you want read aloud.
  5. In the Selection menu, tap Speak—you might need to tap the right arrow to display this option.
  6. The text will be read aloud until the end of the selection is reached.

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