I have tried to convince many friends to listen to audio books online. This really is not any different to reading a regular book, except that someone else’s voice does the reading for you. Apparently the move from the ‘traditional book’ to a compact disc or mp3 has resulted in a large group of skeptical people who doubt that it is possible to truly appreciate a novel by listening, rather than physically reading. Funnily, it is actually the younger people that are harder to convince to give it a go.
Because my grandmother had grown up listening to stories told on the radio she was more than willing to listen to audio books online – in fact, she found it a pleasure as she could sit quite comfortably, do her cross stitch or even do the gardening while she listens to the recordings. Audio books have been around for a very long time, in fact, many of our grandparents grew up listening to the British Broadcasting Company with its serialized classics. History shows that as early as 1933 an anthropologist J.P. Harrington researched and recorded the oral histories of the Native American tribes.
The American Congress saw a need to provide extra resources for people with sight impairment, and as a result the “Books for the Adult Blind Project” was initiated. This project was the stepping stone for audio books or ‘talking books’ and before long the mass reproduction of them began. In later years the National Library Service provided a much needed public-service for blind citizens across America by recording millions of books in an audio format.
Audio Books and Popular Culture
Massive advancement in technology has driven the audio book online format into the reach of consumers who embraced the development with enthusiasm. It was in the early 1960s when the introduction of the portable cassette player recorder allowed ease of use. This coincided with the ever increasing popularity of the pursuit for self-improvement. This style of recordings, with emphasis on instructional or educational subjects, became very popular. Self-help audio-books were well and truly in vogue and the initiative was expanded to include audio books on a wide variety of general topics such as the humanities.
Audio book recordings became even bigger and quickly a market was created that catered for people wanting to rent popular titles. Listening to audio book online became a multi billion-dollar industry and producers helped the industry grow by introducing high-quality recordings done with large casts of voices.
Today, the audio book concept has embraced leading edge technology which has made the product much more accessible to the general public than ever before. The vast array of product available can now be easily downloaded from the web and its formats incorporated into any digital listening device such as cell phones, MP3 players and iPpods. In view of this modern and cutting edge tools, it is highly likely that the young people of today might even gain an appreciation for a classical author such as Jane Austen or William Shakespeare.
It is ironic that the advent of the audio book online has not fully replaced printed books version but instead has only highlighted the joys of books in general.