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Audiobooks: All You Need to Know

By Brittany Holness and Holly Butterfield


Audiobooks have become the preferred method for some book lovers, for several good reasons. With technological advancements there have been great changes to audiobooks, making them even more realistic and enhancing the overall listening experience. As a result, this digital method of indulging in books has surged in popularity dramatically over the last decade. This week, we will be exploring the audiobook platforms that listeners have been utilizing, what this rise in popularity could be attributed to and some popular recommendations.


There have been many contributing factors for why this mode of engaging in books has had such a positive surge. There is greater convenience when listening to audiobooks. Book lovers are now afforded the opportunity to multitask with an audiobook playing in the background, as these do not demand all the attention of the listener as reading a book does. Listening to audiobooks also has the added benefit of immersion; listeners get to feel as though they are actually a part of the world in which the characters reside, creating a deeper connection to the stories and the characters. This is enhanced by professional narrators who embody these characters with their soothing voices and unique representations of the storyline. Celebrities are often narrators too, which attracts fans to listen to specific books. Audiobooks are especially beneficial to people who have learning disorders like dyslexia, or people who are visually impaired. In general, audiobooks provide people who enjoy traditional reading with a more diverse method of enjoying their daily book fix.


Over the past few years, we have seen a real rise in the number of platforms that are now available for listeners. With options for both paid and free platforms, there’s something for everyone. Audible has been one of the most popular resources, offering a wide library of audiobooks with countless categories and genres to choose from – including a section for GraphicAudio’s graphic novel audiobooks – for a monthly subscription fee. Recently rebranded to Everand, Scribd is another platform that is widely used and allows for listeners to choose from another large library of books. Watch out though, there are limits as to how many new releases you can listen to each month! Spotify have also recently announced that they will be offering a certain number of listening hours to anyone with a premium subscription so now you can listen to a number of stories – with their ever-growing library – alongside your music every month. Whilst all of these options are paid, you can often get a free month or two as part of a trial. There are also a number of great library resources that allow you to listen to selected audiobooks through their apps. Make sure you check in at your local library to see if they have any apps – Libby, Overdrive and Borrowbox being a few – that could allow you to take out loans on audiobooks, exactly the same way you would with your books.


Nowadays, most print publications are accompanied by a simultaneous publication of the audio edition, so there are thousands to choose from. Listeners can become even more immersed in these worlds that authors have created, from fiction to non-fiction, with a number of memoirs that are read aloud by their actual authors, making the stories even more personal and emotional. Recent great examples are I’m Glad my Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy, Pageboy by Elliot Page and Spare by Prince Harry. The quality of audiobooks has also massively increased, with production teams adding fun additional sound effects to their stories to add a sense of reality. For example, there are a number of podcast elements and sound effects in Sadie by Courtney Summers and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. Finally, audiobooks are no longer limited to just one narrator. Many of your favourite romances are now told with dual narrators, allowing you to get into the head of both characters as you follow their stories. There are also a number of great multi cast audiobooks where each perspective gets its own narrator, which almost feels like watching actors perform on a stage. Some wonderful recommendations of this are Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid and The Guest List by Lucy Foley.


As reading has become more popular, so has listening to these same books in the form of audiobooks. With a rise in demand from the recognition of this medium in the bibliophile community, the different platforms for obtaining books in this manner have also increased, producing more content or rebranding to better suit their listeners. There are several audiobooks of classics and new book releases that new listeners can enjoy as they immerse themselves. As technology advances and new changes are made, we are excited to see what changes can be made to even further enhance the listening experience.



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