I was amazed! Though I heard a little bit about the podcast, one could so fast open a podcast on their own I had no idea at all. With 700,000 active podcasts and more than 29 million episodes available for consumption, podcasts players are shifting focus from meeting consumer demand to enhancing consumer experience to increase penetration and revenues.
But when I listened to Random Minds one of the podcasts wherein the narrator described Design your destiny beautifully in a melodious voice, I remembered my days with my little daughter Naushin when every night at bedtime, I had to tell her stories of different kind.
Some times, I had to read Burhi Aair Sadhu (Assamese: বুঢ়ী আইৰ সাধু, literally translated to Grand Mother’s Tales, is a collection of stories or folklore, that have been compiled by famous Assamese author and poet Lakshminath Bezbaruah which is one of the most popular texts in Assamese literature ) aloud to her in wacky voices and I found her to get hooked on my storytelling voice. You can enjoy an Audiobook clicking here.
Now I know, That time, unconsciously I was doing the work of a podcast as well as an Audiobook!
You will find Bijay Gautam, one of India,s biggest names in the podcast industry is conducting a free zoom webinar every week! You can learn how to build a world-class Podcast by clicking here.
As you all might have that experience of listening to stories from grandfather or mother!
As you may be knowing, Storytelling is an oral tradition. It helps bring us together.
So, is the Audiobook!!
An audiobook (or a talking book) is a recording of a book or other work being read out loud. A reading of the complete text is described as “unabridged”, while readings of a shorter version are an abridgment.
This book was first published in October–November 1911.After the first publication, 100 years have been passed and countless editions of the book have been published
For your kind information, you should know that spoken audio has been available in schools and public libraries and to a lesser extent in music shops since the 1930s. Many spoken word albums were made prior to the age of cassettes, compact discs, and downloadable audio, often of poetry and plays rather than books. It was not until the 1980s that the medium began to attract book retailers, and then book retailers started displaying audiobooks on bookshelves rather than in separate displays
Probably you have heard that audiobooks are slowly taking pace in the Indian market.
But imagine a scene twenty years back!
When Amazon’s “Audible” released the first portable audio player designed specifically for listening to audiobooks, that time it cost $200 ! That too, it could hold about two hours of audio-only!!
Today? You can get an audiobook as low as Rs. 100. Even, so many audiobooks you will get free from the Internet!!
The booming popularity of audiobooks coincides with the rise of podcasts and shows an increasing thirst for audio content, which has led to publishers ploughing resources into the format, building dedicated teams, and creating in-house studios in order to produce increasingly creative and ambitious listening experiences.
Readers can listen to hundreds of hours on their smartphones and choose from more than 35,000 books published each year on dozens of applications and devices.
To be specific, more than 67 million Americans now listen to audiobooks annually, according to the Audio Publisher’s Association.
That is a major evolution!
And, what about India?
Audiobooks in India started to appear a little later as compared to the rest of the world. Only by 2010 did Audiobooks gain popularity in the Indian market.
Before highlighting the boom of Audio Books in India, let us dig a bit about the evolution of Audiobooks!
Audiobooks first emerged in 1932 with the establishment of a recording studio by The American Foundation for the Blind, which created recordings of books on vinyl records. Each side held about 15 minutes of speech. The following year, Congress passed an amendment that allowed the Library of Congress to begin producing audiobooks.
Initial recordings included William Shakespeare’s plays, The Constitution, and the novel “As the Earth Turns” by Gladys Hasty Carroll.
Over time, more recording companies slowly emerged, mostly to assist the blind.
In 1955, the Listening Library became a major distributor for recorded books.
New technology spurred audiobook growth with cassette tapes in the 1960s and compact discs in the 1980s. Waldenbooks installed “audio centers” in their bookstores and the publishing houses Random House, Warner Publishing and Simon & Schuster opened audio publishing divisions.
By 1994, the term “audiobook” had become an industry standard.
As you see, this way, Audiobook, and Podcast is impacting the audience in a mass scale!
Later on, Amazon,s “Audible” made it possible to download books onto desktop computers.
As audiobooks have become more popular, there have been countless debates over the best applications and ways to digest the medium.
Audible is among the most used paid subscription platforms, with apps that can be downloaded on smartphones, iPads, desktops and Kindle, but there are also plenty of free applications through local library systems, such as Hoopla and Overdrive.
CD versions of audiobooks are also still sold and available in libraries, as are devices made specifically for audiobook reading.
As the publishing industry is seeing an overall decline in physical and ebook sales, audiobook sales are booming.
Just like the history of music, the history of audiobooks closely follows the twists and turns of the recording industry.
One of the more remarkable turning points was the 1980s, with the longer audio format of cassette tapes and the inexpensive, portable Sony Walkman becoming prolific at the time.
With the accessibility and format of recordings now able to more adeptly serve the audiobook industry, by 1984, there were 11 audiobook publishing companies.
The Audiobook Industry later on grew so fast that In their 2016 annual report, the Audio Publishers Association, which tracks the industry, found that sales totaled $2.1 billion in 2016, an 18.2 percent increase from the previous year. Compare that to $1.8 billion of hardcover copy books sold in 2016.
The amount of available audiobooks has also increased. In 2016, 51,000 audiobooks were published, up from 7,200 in 2011.
After the development of the Audio Publishers Association (APA), a professional non-profit trade association established by a group of publishers to promote awareness of spoken-word audio and provide industry statistics to the public and its members.
While it’s lovely and whimsical to think about the endless options to satisfy us as consumers, the marriage of the spoken word and digital recording for audiobooks is currently a $900 million dollar industry.
In 2019, Forbes reported that U.S. audiobook sales neared $1 billion, growing 25% year-over-year. The audiobook publishing industry has likely passed the $1 billion dollar mark in this 2020.
Now, the question often comes to our mind that why audiobooks are getting so much popularity worldwide?
Does listening to a book count as much as reading it? Some traditional readers may scoff at listening to a great classic, having tried audio, and hated it.
Meanwhile, avid audiobook listeners use to say that they read and comprehend more with audio, and that it allows them to read more books.
Some studies show that listening to books does not keep readers as focused, and the print versus audio debate goes all the way back to the visual and auditory learner style.
But it mainly depends on the person, as well as the book.
While audiobooks may not be the cup of tea for everyone, but publishing numbers are continuously rising, especially for people under 35, who make up nearly half of frequent audiobook listeners.
A recent University College of London study showed that listening to audiobooks is more emotionally engaging than watching TV or movies, something our listeners appreciate every day.
Audiobooks are considered a valuable tool because of their format.
Unlike traditional books or a video program, one can listen to an audiobook while doing other tasks. Such tasks include doing the laundry, exercising, weeding, and similar activities.
Just imagine a scene, you are listening to an audiobook when you are on a steering wheel! How productive your time will be while traveling with public transport with a headphone listening to your favorite audiobook!
Why not try now to listen to this beautiful story below:
You can use Audiobook as an alternative to the radio. Many people listen as well just to relax or as they drift off to sleep. Even, the study is going on whether Audiobook can cure insomnia!!
A recent survey released by the Audio Publishers Association found that the overwhelming majority of audiobook users listen in the car, and more than two-thirds of audiobook buyers described audiobooks as relaxing and a good way to multitask.
Another stated reason for choosing audiobooks over other formats like physical books or E book is that an audio performance makes some books more interesting.
You will find common practices for an audiobook on following aspect:
- Replaying: Depending upon one’s degree of attention and interest, it is often necessary to listen to segments of an audiobook more than once to allow the material to be understood and retained satisfactorily. Replaying may be done immediately or after extended periods of time.
- Learning: People may listen to an audiobook (usually an unabridged one) while following along in an actual book. This helps them to learn words that they may not learn correctly if they were only to read the book. This can also be a very effective way to learn a new language.
- Multitasking: Many audiobook listeners choose the format because it allows multitasking during otherwise mundane or routine tasks such as exercising, crafting, or cooking.
- Entertainment: Audiobooks have become a popular form of travel entertainment for families or commuters.
- Audiobooks have been used to teach children to read and to increase reading comprehension.
Most importantly, Audiobooks are also useful for the blind.
The National Library of Congress in the U.S. and the CNIB Library in Canada provide free audiobook library services to the visually impaired; requested books are mailed out (at no cost) to clients. Founded in 1996, Assistive Media of Ann Arbor, Michigan was the first organization to produce and deliver spoken-word recordings of written journalistic and literary works via the Internet to serve people with visual impairments.
And, because of these reasons only, About 55 million people listen to an audiobook each year and that number continues to grow, according to the Audio Publishers Association. Just imagine, what an Impact Audiobook has made on the audience!
As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bragged in a 2013 annual shareholder statement, “Audible makes it possible for you to read when your eyes are busy.”
In-home devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home have also meant more people are tuning in at home, and the APA is expecting to see a rise in that kind of listening.
Mobile devices also allow readers to constantly listen, optimizing their time and reading more, and some argue that audiobooks are yet another way to always stay online, drive productivity, and constantly be in the know.
In this age of the Internet, do we think, we Indians should stay behind the bush?
Not at all.
The lifestyle of the urban Indian population and one of the highest daily commute time in the world has also helped in making Audiobooks popular in our country
Business and Self Help books have widespread appeal and have been more popular than fiction/non-fiction.
This is because Audiobooks are primarily seen as an avenue for self-improvement and education, rather than entertainment.
Audiobooks are being released in various Indian languages. In Malayalam, the first audio novel, titled Ouija Board, was released by Kathacafe in 2018. Now Indian companies are working towards Audio Books generation in the Indian Vernacular Languages. Listen Stories By Sahitya Chintan is an Android audiobook library allowing listing 1000+ Hindi Audio Books. They are offering ample audiobooks freely. To access the entire catalog they are charging nominal membership of Rs. 199/ Year for Indian audiobook listener and $5.99/Year for the Rest of World.
So, In the age of the internet, how do we reach the grassroots? The answer may lie in audio. Even, our honorable Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi’s “Mann Ki Baat” as a podcast, reaches more than 600 million listeners!
From Premchand to Panchatantra, Indians are tuning in to enjoy that cozy feeling of being told a story.
On the run, on the metro, in the car, or while cooking rajma, Indians are starting to listen to books right from Premchand, Chetan Bhagat, Panchatantra Tales, Charles Dickens, Margaret Atwood, Krishna Sobti, the Dalai Lama, Emraan Hashmi even.
While digital audiobooks have been selling well the world over, the Indian market is only just picking up.
In this Informatiomation overload era, as books continue to work for you as your best friends, why not go for audiobook when you are reluctant to read a physical book?
Google Play store already started retailing audiobooks in India.
Swedish audio- and ebook platform, Storytel opened shop in India.
StoryWalker 365, a homegrown children’s storytelling app is already there.
You may already know the presence of Amazon’s Audible, the world’s largest audiobook store in India.
Interestingly, Audiobooks has played role in bringing new ‘readers’ to the fold, including those not inclined to reading at all.
In India, they promise to expand the market for Indian language books as well. “People can be reacquainted with their mother tongue by listening to stories in that language,” says Yogesh Dashrat, country manager for Storytel in India.
Dashrat believes 2018 will be the breakout year for audiobooks. Storytel, a paid subscription platform that currently has around 533,000 subscribers across nine countries, has collaborated with Indian language publishers like Rajkamal Prakashan Samuh, Vaani Prakashan, and Rohan Prakashan to produce some of their print titles. “Sixty of our Hindi titles are on Storytel, with 45 in the works,” says Rajkamal’s marketing director Alind Maheshwari, listing Raag Darbari by Shrilal Shukla, Premchand’s Gaban, Mitro Mariani by Krishna Sobti, Gandi Baat by Kshitiz Roy.
As already described, as ebook sales slide globally, publishers are betting heavily on the audiobook, a $2.5billion industry. Several international publishers, including Penguin Random House and HarperCollins, have audiobook divisions producing their books in-house, but their India offices have yet to set up a studio.
HarperCollins India is currently sussing the market. “We’re planning to produce our own audiobooks, and that will depend on how the market matures,” says Arcopol Chaudhuri, associate editor & rights manager.
Though Audiobooks, when sold singly, don’t come cheap. The Murder on The Orient Express, off Google Play Books, is Rs 999. It’s cheaper to buy the print at Rs 114.
Yet, the audiobook, with its layered narration, music, and sound effects, is a performance piece, and if done right can be more arresting than print. “
Children’s audiobooks do more than entertain and inform.
They help improve listening comprehension, and language and literacy development, particularly among those with print disabilities.
Suzanne Singh, chairperson of Pratham Books, says, “Listening is a crucial pre-reading skill to be developed in children.” Pratham’s narrative campaign last year — Missed Call Do, Kahaani Suno — reached out to 50,000 kids. A missed call to a number would result in a callback, with a story narrated at zero cost. “The aim was to create a culture of listening to stories within the home that would lead to an interest in reading,” says Suzanne.
They launched a new campaign this year called PhoneStories.
In addition to language learning, a new subscription app StoryWalker wants its stories to convey values to children.
The founder of Story walker 365, Antony Rajkumar and his wife Aarthi have written original stories with embedded messages about sibling rivalry, fear, courtesy, prejudice, and so on.
The stories are narrated by an international team of voice artists, with original music and illustrations. The app has to Listen, Play and Read modes and it will soon have a Record feature too, says Antony, so parents can record the story in their own voice for the child to playback. “Because a child still loves to be told a bedtime story by her parent.”
Even, you can choose a part-time career also in Audiobook industry if you have a good voice.
Are You seriously Looking for a job as an Audiobook Narrator?
Voices.com audiobook narrators hail from over 160 countries and speak a wide range of languages, dialects, and accents. Whether you’re completing your first recording or a translated version, you’ll find the perfect voice on Voices.com.
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Producing an audiobook consists of a narrator sitting in a recording booth reading the text, while a studio engineer and a director record and direct the performance. If a mistake is made the recording is stopped and the narrator reads it again. With recent advancements in recording technology, many audiobooks are also now recorded in home studios by narrators working independently. Audiobooks produced by major publishing houses undergo a proofing and editing process after narration is recorded.
Narrators are usually paid on a finished recorded hour basis, meaning if it took 20 hours to produce a 5-hour book, the narrator is paid for 5 hours, thus providing an incentive not to make mistakes. Depending on the narrator they are paid US$150 per finished hour to US$400 (as of 2011). The overall cost to produce an audiobook can vary significantly, as longer books require more studio time, and more well-known narrators come at a premium. According to a representative at Audible, the cost of recording an audiobook has fallen from around US$25,000 in the late 1990s to around US$2,000-US$3,000 in 2014.
The signal is clear: Audiobooks and podcasts are outgrowing their “niche” status to emerge as substantive markets in their own right.
The next time you settle down with a good book, will you reach for a set of headphones instead of an eReader?
Audiobook publishers are hoping so—and the market’s anticipated growth lends weight to their aspirations. In 2020, Deloitte predicts, the global audiobook market will grow by 25 percent to US$3.5 billion.
And audiobooks aren’t the only audio format gaining in popularity. Deloitte also predicts that the global podcasting market will increase by 30 percent to reach US$1.1 billion in 2020, surpassing the US$1 billion mark for the first. Thus, Audiobooks and podcasts are there to impact to a large scale of people worldwide!
So, whats for are you waiting?
On this coming Sunday idle evening, why not go to a calm and quiet river bank, connect your favourite headphone with your smartphone and listen to the free audiobook of Rabin Sharma “ The monk who sold his Ferrari”!
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