Digital Media Concepts/Audiobook

Audible- audiobook
Audible- audiobook

Introduction edit

Media in general is a broad term. Based on this one idea media has branched out to multiple mediums for different purposes. During this process, the invention of audiobooks or talking books has been discovered. Audiobooks allow the audience to listen to a book that has been recorded by a narrator. The discovery started as an aid for visually impaired people and now it can be accessed portability by everyone.

Brief History edit

United States of America edit

The origin of audiobooks dated way back to 1877, this is when Thomas Edison invented the first phonography.[1] This allows him to record the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb” with his voice.[2] The invention created multiple branches and innovations in the media industry.

From 1931 to 1932, [American Foundation for the Blind] innovated Edison’s idea on recordable devices to create the first “talking book”, also known as audiobooks.[2] This was a program targeted at visually impaired or disabled audiences. The “talking books” program recorded books on vinyl, which contain about 15 minutes of recording on each side of the vinyl.[1] Three years later, an audiobook of The Bible and some of William Shakespeare’s plays were available to the blind community in America.[2] As the media industry grew, the very first commercial audiobook was released by Caedmon Records.[2] The audiobook contains the recordings of Dylan Thomas-a welsh poet, and writer- short stories, and poems. The short story was Dylan Thomas’s first audiobook version of his famous poem “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”.[2]

As years evolve, listening libraries were available to the public.[2] Although, it is not a literal listening library audiobooks recorded on vinyl were distributed to libraries and schools. From 1963 to 1982, advanced technology helped audiobooks to release in different forms.[2]

In 1963, the invention of cassettes affected the audience to favor cassette audiobooks.[2] Later in 1960, libraries stocked books that provide an extra audiobook together with the book. However, audiobooks rises to their peak of fame when the invention Compact CD was introduced.[2] Since the release audiobooks were popular among the audience. Meanwhile, publishing houses started to branch out by opening audio publishing centers.[1] Due to its popularity, 75% of audiobooks were sold through public and private educational centers. As a result, the audiobook industry makes 200 million dollars by 1987.[1]

D'Youville College student listening to phonograph, Buffalo, New York, 1958

Finally, the term “talking book” was officially replaced with the term “audiobook” by The Audio Publishers Association in 1994.[2]

Audible, an American audio publishing company, introduced the public with the first digital audio player. Unlike the vinyl, the audio player was able to provide audio for up to two hours. Plus, the company held live sales that allows the public to buy the audiobooks digitally.[2]

India edit

As audiobooks rise to their fame in the United States, they started branches out to India. In late 1990, a bundle of books and audio cassettes was introduced to India. Twenty-seven years later, "storytel" -a Swedish audiobook company entered India’s market.[2] It took only one more year for google to allowed audiobook subscriptions and 44 other countries in multiple languages. By the time of 2017, audible distributed more than 200,000 audiobooks in India.[2]

How audiobooks are made edit

Casting edit

The production of audiobooks starts with the publishers and writers brainstorming on how the audiobook should look like. They discuss and recommend apond the main character’s characteristics and accents, genre, and a deadline for the production.[3] After the team finalizes the script, an audition is held to cast the right narrator.

Preparation edit

After the process of casting, the team prepared on focusing more on the characters, narrative structure, pronunciations, and errors. During the process, the author and the publishers get involved in making key decisions.[3]

Recording edit


Once all of the decisions and castings are finalized, the script was delivered to the voice actor or narrator. There are two processes going on in this stage.[3] The author records the book at its own pace. Therefore, there isn’t a specific time limit for a book. Afterward, the sound engineer or the team will take notes and errors to report back to the editor.

Post-production edit

Once the recording process is complete, the post-production process begins. In this process, the editor goes through processes such as editing, mixing, mastering, soundproofing and re-records parts where the publisher isn’t satisfied.[3]

Distributions edit

After the production process is complete, the audio files are delivered to different distributors.[3] The distributors introduce audiobooks to the public.

Famous narrator and actors edit

Since voice actors and narrators bring a script to life. Here are some famous voice actors and narrators in the industry.

Morgan Freeman (actors/ voice-actor/ producer/ director)[4]

Morgan Freeman

Brenda Strong (actress/ voice-actor/ director/ producer)[4]

Brenda Strong

James Earl Jones (actor/ voice-actor/ narrator/ music arranger)[4]

James Earls Jones

Pros and Cons edit

Pros Cons
Accessible Traditional paperback books may disappear
Learning new languages Traditional paperback books may disappear
Portable Require access to an electronic device
Introduce students to advance readings Hard to go back while reading
Improve critical listening skills Underdevelopment in speed reading
Multitasking Unaware of the surrounding


Growth in the industry edit

The Audio Publishers Association, which analyzes the business, revealed that sales totaled $2.1 billion in 2016, up 18.2 percent from the previous year, in their 2016 annual report. In 2016, $1.8 billion worth of hardcover copies were sold.[8]

The number of audiobooks available has also expanded. There were 51,000 audiobooks published in 2016, up from 7,200 in 2011. From 2021 to 2027, the industry targeted to expand their market by 24.4%.[8]

Applications and websites edit

Since the creation of vinyl "talking book", technology has helped the industry to grow bigger. In the 21st century, audiobook has been available on the phone as a application or a website. These are the top 5 audiobook application and websites in 2021[9]:



Learning resources edit

Videos edit

References edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Thoet, Alison (2017-11-22). "A short history of the audiobook, 20 years after the first portable digital audio device". PBS NewsHour. PBS News Hours. Retrieved 2022-03-06.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 "Infographic: A Brief History Of Audiobooks". The Curious Reader. The Curious Reader. Retrieved 2022-03-06.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Dutton, Arran. "Creating Audiobooks: An Overview of the Production Process - BookMachine". Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Good, Troy. "Greatest Voiceovers/Narrators/Storytellers of all time". IMDb. Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  5. "Great advantages to listening to audiobooks". Clermont County Public Library. Clermont County Public Library. Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  6. Johnson, Denise. "Benefits of Audiobooks for All Readers". Reading Rockets. Reading Rockets. Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  7. "31 Noisy Pros & Cons Of Audiobooks You Should Know". E&C. Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Audiobook market insights on statistics and growth forecasts from 2021 to 2027: Amazon, Google, Kobo, LibriVox, downpour, scribd, OverDrive-e Times Weekly". Breaking Latest News. Breaking Latest News. 2021-10-29. Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  9. Corpuz, John (2021-07-13). "Best audiobook apps in 2021". Tom's Guide. Retrieved 2022-03-09.