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Thread: Audiobooks

  1. #1


    Could audiobooks prove to be the next explosively popular digital book format?

    Article by Nate Hoffelder

    The book publishing industry is prone to fads and obsessions. If it's not Pottermore and direct sales, it's hybrid authors, or book bundling, or subscription ebook services, or coloring books. Many of these fads have come to naught, but the latest obsession - audiobooks - could prove to be the next explosively popular digital book format.
    I know a lot of people have been saying that over the past year, but the data actually backs up the hype.

    I was inspired to look into the topic when I read Joe Wikert's piece on audiobooks this weekend. As is his usual, Wikert offered no data to back up his assertions, but after I started digging into the topic, two glaring facts stood out.

    • The first is that audiobook market is small, but consistently growing year over year, and
    • The second is that audiobooks don't really cost a lot to produce.

    Let's take those in order. ...
    Article continues <here>

    Do you listen to audiobooks or have you recorded a short story or even an audiobook?
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  2. #2
    Personally, I couldn't ever focus enough with audiobooks - I tried it twice already, and always my attention drifted. I can concentrate better with a book on my hands than by listening to it, even on a train.

    Also, I find it jarring that I can't easily re-read a sentence if I wish it, and have to fiddle, crash and burn trying to hear it - most times listening to, at the very least, the ones immediately before and after it.
    Besides: I am simply a sucker for books. They are as much a medium as a collector's item, a decorative piece.. I'll never (willingly) swap them for digital pieces, unless, for some reason, I can't get a given work in physical form.

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  3. #3
    Audiobooks, to me at least, are a very "niche" market for books. The thing is, we don't retain many words we hear unless the audio presenter can make it interesting. Also, some people don't enjoy having the characters they have imagined, or have been guided to imaging having the "wrong voice". To me, creating, not to mention publishing an audiobook just feels like hell.

    Now, I listen to audiobooks all the time, and that may seem pretty hypocritical but the main problem I have with them is that It's not me reading the book. It's some other bloke who is reading the story for me. How can I formulate my thoughts on the book when there is a completely different tone being used in the narrative? How can I imagine the characters when the voice actor uses a darker tone in what I perceive as a lighter setting. It's all monotonous if they don't shift tones to accurately depict a scene. It's such a percise and complex art to work with voice acting, and if you can't pull it off, you're just lost. Also, you lose your reader.

    Well, I've done some sparse voice work before, (mainly radio, some independent movies for friends) and let me tell you, it's not all hotsy totsy, easy peasy stuff to do. In most cases you don't use your regular voice unless it is requested, and to have the possibility of reading over 100k words in a voice that is in most cases foreign to even yourself is just daunting. Somehow though, there are some audiobooks I have listened too that have been straight trash in quality. Either the voice is incomprehensible or they have the inability to read or talk. It's disheartening when you are listening to a classic and you cannot understand the the old southern grandfather because the accent is being absolutely butchered.

    Now, it's not a degradation on the book, it's just that audiobooks are the "rundown stepchild" of books in my mind. We are so far removed from having a serious audiobook need that they are so behind right now. E-books and electronic reading was like this, when technology was in it's novice stages, reading a book or article on a website was pretty rare since we had newspapers, or magazines, or hell books. But as the evolution of technology increased, and in a parallel our dependency on technology increased, our expectations of E-books in conjunction, increased. With these new developments, having a library of books at your disposal on a simple electronic screen was the next best step in reading. I hope that someday there is a boom for audiobooks, I truly do, I just feel for now (and the foreseeable future) that audiobooks will be behind, and always in third place.
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  4. #4
    I grew up listening to the Library of Congress' "talking books' and they were read by voice actors. The greatest did voices for the characters.

    The catalog (available in Braille, large print and, later, on cassette and flexible disk) told you who narrated the book so you could choose books narrated by your favorites (Alexander Scourby and Mitzi Friedlander were mine).

    HOWEVER, as an adult, I cannot concentrate on an audiobook and do anything of consequence at the same time.
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  5. #5
    Audiobooks are my preference when reading fiction, as it can be enjoyed while doing other tasks like exercise or driving while still delivering a quality story.

    They can be (depending on the voice actor or if you do it yourself) incredibly inexpensive and can be a wonderful idea if you are willing to put in the effort.

  6. #6
    i recently had The Stranger playing on youtube rather than have the radio on..
    The only one who can heal you is you.

  7. #7
    I've definitely listened to a few audiobooks in my time. Usually only when I feel like the audio book would add something that the novel would lack. Such as books that are linked to podcasts, or celebs are voicing.

  8. #8
    In some genres, audiobooks are thriving. Horror especially, or weird fiction, have a cottage industry going, with authors often declaiming their own works, and at least a dozen or so people doing such work on YouTube and via podcasts. Several of my things have been broadcast in this fashion.
    I like them, but then I grew up listening to CBS Radio Mystery Theater every night for years.
    This even though I think participatory videocasts are the future, when I think about it.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by PiP View Post
    Could audiobooks prove to be the next explosively popular digital book format?

    Article by Nate Hoffelder

    Article continues <here>

    Do you listen to audiobooks or have you recorded a short story or even an audiobook?
    no it wont be explosive
    no i dont ever do an audio book

    audio is a very small very niche market that is expensive to produce
    check out teh audio publishers association for more info


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