Audiobooks - Fastest Growing Format In Publishing

Audiobooks are now the fastest-growing format in the publishing business. A twenty-one percent increase from 2015 has been noted in both the US and Canada.

The format fits neatly in the sweet spot of changing technology and changing behavior. Carrying around a pocket-size entertainment center stuffed with games, news, music, videos and books has conditioned people to seek out constant entertainment, whether walking to a meeting or sitting in a doctor’s office. For more multitasking book-lovers, audiobooks are the answer...

Stephen King last year released his short story, “Drunken Fireworks,” as an audiobook four months before its print publication...

Digital downloads are fueling the explosion: Revenue from downloaded audiobooks in the U.S. grew 38% last year from 2014, according to the Association of American Publishers. Meanwhile, revenue from hardcovers and paperbacks grew by 8% and 3%, respectively, and e-books declined 11%.

In his 1961 book Return from the Stars, sf great Stanislaw Lem wrote about what he called a lecton:

The bookstore resembled, instead, an electronic laboratory. The books were crystals with recorded contents. They can be read the aid of an opton, which was similar to a book but had only one page between the covers. At a touch, successive pages of the text appeared on it.

But optons were little used, the sales-robot told me. The public preferred lectons - lectons read out loud, they could be set to any voice, tempo, and modulation. Only scientific publications having a very limited distribution were still printed, on a plastic imitation paper.
(Read more about the lecton)

Via WSJ.

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