In the early sixties, someone thought, “Hey, wouldnt it be great if we could listen to books instead of reading them?” and audio books were born. Audio books gained popularity shortly after in America as “books on tape” and then as technologies advanced, audio books came out as “books on CD.” The biggest lure was the fact that people could enjoy books in places other than the easy chair. Books suddenly became group activities, and whole families could enjoy a good book together while out for a Sunday drive.
With recent technological advances, audio books are once again evolving. The Internet has brought about a whole new generation of downloadable digital audio books that you can listen to on your computer, mp3 player or CD player. The major advantage is still the same as it was in the sixties — convenience, with the only difference being the extent of the convenience.
Nowadays, you don’t have to go all the way to the book store or grocery store to find an audio book. You can shop, download, burn, copy and transfer audio books right in the comfort of your home. In addition, you can listen to downloadable audio books on a variety of media devices. Before the advent of downloadable audio books, you could only listen to the original books on tape on tape decks. You can find audio books in downloadable mp3 format. And just about anything, including recordings of radio shows in the 1920s to the 1950s as well as plays (something that at one time could only be enjoyed as part of an audience in a theater) can now be enjoyed in downloadable format.
The popularity of audio books in modern society is apparent in the fact that audio books can now be found in just about every single public library in North America, and an ever increasing amount of libraries are offering their patrons downloadable audio books. The system works the same as borrowing a regular old fashioned book where a member downloads the audio book and after a period of time, the file becomes inactive. This is controlled by a DRM (Digital Rights Management) program, which automatically checks files in and out. Once downloaded to your computer, the files can then be transferred to your mp3 player or burned onto a CD. On the “due date,” the DRM automatically checks the file back into the system. At this time, the audio book can no longer be played on your computer or portable media device. It can, however, still be played from a burned CD.
If you have a computer and Internet access, you no longer have any excuse for not enjoying a good book every once in a while.