The funny thing about getting a person started on an audio book is convincing them first that it’s really no different from a regular book. It seems that the leap from the printed page to a compact disk has left a lot of people skeptical about how easy it is to use and appreciate an audio book. The age bracket also comes into play; much younger people are harder to convince than older ones.
For people with hearing disabilities and the American Congress created the “Books for the Adult Blind Project” which actually utilized talking-books and in a short while, the mass reproduction of them began. In later years the audio book would take the form of public-service, with institutions like the National Library Service putting out millions of copies of recorded books to blind citizens all across the country.
It was technology which pushed the audio book format into the realm of popular culture and mass consumer patronage. In the 60s, the development of the cassette player recorder allowed not only ease of use, but portability. In an age where everyone was trumpeting self-improvement, recordings of an instructional or educational nature became popular, reaching its peak with self-help audio-books and then naturally including general topics such as the humanities.
Today, the audio book has leapt into cyberspace and into 21st century technology that has made it more accessible than ever before. It can now be downloaded and its formats fitted unto any digital listening device such as phones and MP3 players. Married with such hip and cutting edge modern tools, appreciation for a classic such as Jane Austen or William Shakespeare is expected to grow even among a generation who would be more inclined to read a comic book.
The advent of the compact disc, audio book recordings developed its own market complete with rentals and producers who wanted a bigger slice of what had become a billion-dollar industry by introducing high-quality recordings done with large cast of voices and polished in high-tech studios.
Audio Books & Reviews: