Thursday, August 6, 2020

Rise of the Audiobook

This week I’m listening to The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi, a beautifully written historical fiction that takes place in 1950’s India. I love learning new things in such a vibrant way…and I’m listening to it! 

Good timing too because our topic this week is audiobook popularity. Do you listen to audiobooks? If you’re an author, do you make them? Any thoughts on if they’ll overtake ebooks? 

Honestly, I was slow to join the audiobook bandwagon. I’m not talking books on tape, but the electronic versions you can download in an app—so EASY! Yet, when they became a thing and my fellow book bloggers were devouring them, I stuck to my paperbacks and hardcovers. 

Crazy enough, at the time I was still working in the corporate world and driving at least two hours a day, sometimes more depending on which laboratories I needed to visit. 

Fast forward to today and…man oh man, why didn’t I give audiobooks a try back then! If I could hop a time machine that might be my destination, go back and tell my commuting past-self to download gobs of ‘em I could’ve soared my 90 book-a-year average into the triple digits! 

Even though I no longer commute, I’m so blessed to be able to work from home, there are plenty of days my eyes can’t take any more screen time. That means ixnay the ebooks and even reading on a page is difficult—thank you very much chronic disease—but, I’m thankful for audiobooks! 

Popularity then: I’d say they’re gaining. I talk books with most people I come across and within the last couple of years I’ve noticed that more are listening instead of reading. Interesting…possible factors could be: chronic disease is on the rise, resulting in conditions that increase the necessity of an audible option, and in our current semi-isolated climate hearing a voice is a comfort, even if it’s recorded.

Another interesting thing, I recently learned that for traditionally published books it’s not always the publishing house that puts out the recorded version. 

Come on, gasp with me! I can’t be the only reader out there who didn’t have a clue about how audiobooks came to be. 

Yes, I was aware of companies you could hire to produce your self-published or indie-published book if you wanted to. But maybe because I haven’t been listening to audiobooks that long or maybe because I don’t really pay attention to the intro and miss who actually made it I’d always assumed they came from the publisher!

There you have it, my take on audiobooks and how I think they’ll continue to grow. Yes, I enjoy them, though never as much as a paper version. And yes, I believe I’ll make one someday. 

*By the way, have you listened to Martha Well’s Murderbot series in audio?! The narrator, Kevin R. Free’s interpretation perfectly encompasses Murderbot’s flatline emotions and ponderings. So, so good. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon and dig sci-fi, hands-down start with this one!

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