For three years, audiobooks have gained popularity as the only form of “reading” that has increased in the last decade. While sales of print books and ebooks are stagnant, sales of audiobooks have increased as much as 30 percent. In the United States alone, each year more than 50,000 titles come to market ready to be heard.
This has made publishers and readers alike wonder, what is the recent importance of audiobooks for?
The History of Audiobooks
Before answering what an audiobook is, you need to know its history. Almost 150 years ago, the inventor Thomas Edison recorded the story “Mary had a little lamb” on the cylinder of a phonograph. Edison’s experiment became nothing more than a flamboyant novelty, and it wasn’t until the 1930s that the first audiobooks would go on sale.
Among the advantages of audiobooks was being able to access reading through the ear, so at first, they were exclusively intended for blind readers. Joseph Conrad’s “Typhoon” was the first title recorded for this purpose.
Decades passed and audiobooks remained on the fringes of the literary world; not so the radio soap operas that, thanks to the massive diffusion of the radio, gained amazing popularity.
Until the digital revolution came. The rise of the internet compressed audio formats and smartphones made the importance of audiobooks multiply worldwide.
How does an audiobook work today?
Understanding what an audiobook is is very simple: it involves recording a read-aloud of any content. Stories, conferences, novels, scientific essays, non-fiction texts, and even courses are part of the varied catalog of audiobooks available for all kinds of tastes and interests.
The importance of audiobooks does not have a single explanation, rather it is due to a combination of factors that have given prestige and practicality to this form of entertainment and culture. For example, great actors have lent their voices to both characters and storytellers, making it easy for the listener to immerse themselves in the literary atmosphere.
One of the advantages of audiobooks is that they can be heard while doing everyday activities, such as doing housework or moving from one place to another.
There are several websites where it is possible to obtain classic audiobooks completely free of charge. There are also paid sites and apps that offer literary novelties, either buying the titles individually or paying the subscription of a streaming service.
The return of audiobooks has been a breath of fresh air for a whole new generation that has proven not to be disenchanted with reading, they simply needed a new format.
Now that you know how an audiobook works, what are you waiting for to start devouring them?