An audiobook (or talking book) is a recording of a text being read. A reading of the complete text is noted as "unabridged", while readings of a reduced version, or abridgement of the text are labeled as "abridged".

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 videocassettes, DVDs, compact discs, and downloadable audio, however 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.


The term "talking book" came into being in the 1930s with government programs designed for blind readers, while the term "audiobook" came into use during the 1970s when audiocassettes began to replace records.[1] In 1994, the Audio Publishers Association established the term "audiobook" as the industry standard.[1]


The Papa of the Phonograph, Daily Graphic
Caption reads: "The phonograph at home reading out a novel." From Daily Graphic (New York), April 2, 1878. Less than a year after the invention of the phonograph, this drawing offered a future vision. Novels however would remain impractical for phonographs until the 1930s.

Spoken word recordings first became possible with the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edison in 1877.[1] "Phonographic books" were one of the original applications envisioned by Edison which would "speak to blind people without effort on their part."[1] The initial words spoken into the phonograph were Edison's recital of "Mary Had a Little Lamb", the first instance of recorded verse.[1] In 1878, a demonstration at the Royal Institution in Britain included "Hey Diddle Diddle, the Cat and the Fiddle" and a line of Tennyson's poetry thus establishing from the very beginning of the technology its association with spoken literature.[1]

United States

Beginnings to 1970

Many short, spoken word recordings were sold on cylinder in the late 1800s and early 1900s,[2] however the round cylinders were limited to about 4 minutes each making books impractical;[1] flat platters increased to 12 minutes but this too was impractical for longer works.[1] "One early listener complained that he would need a wheelbarrow to carry around talking books recorded on discs with such limited storage capacity."[1] By the 1930s close-grooved records increased to 20 minutes making possible longer narrative.[1]

In 1931, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and Library of Congress Books for the Adult Blind Project established the "Talking Books Program" (Books for the Blind), which was intended to provide reading material for veterans injured during World War I and other visually impaired adults.[1] The first test recordings in 1932 included a chapter from Helen Keller's Midstream and Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven".[1] The organization received congressional approval for exemption from copyright and free postal distribution of talking books.[1] The first recordings made for the Talking Books Program in 1934 included sections of the Bible; the Declaration of Independence and other patriotic documents; plays and sonnets by Shakespeare; and fiction by Gladys Hasty Carroll, E. M. Delafield, Cora Jarrett, Rudyard Kipling, John Masefield, and P. G. Wodehouse.[1]

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFBD, later renamed Learning Ally) was founded in 1948 by Anne T. Macdonald, a member of the New York Public Library's Women's Auxiliary, in response to an influx of inquiries from soldiers who had lost their sight in combat during World War II. The newly passed GI Bill of Rights guaranteed a college education to all veterans, but texts were mostly inaccessible to the recently blinded veterans, who did not read Braille and had little access to live readers. Macdonald mobilized the women of the Auxiliary under the motto "Education is a right, not a privilege". Members of the Auxiliary transformed the attic of the New York Public Library into a studio, recording textbooks using then state-of-the-art six-inch vinyl SoundScriber phonograph discs that played approximately 12 minutes of material per side. In 1952, Macdonald established recording studios in seven additional cities across the United States.

Caedmon Records was a pioneer in the audiobook business, it was the first company dedicated to selling spoken work recordings to the public and has been called the "seed" of the audiobook industry.[3] Caedmon was formed in New York in 1952 by college graduates Barbara Holdridge and Marianne Roney.[3] Their first release was a collection of poems by Dylan Thomas as read by the author.[3] The LP's B-side contained A Child's Christmas in Wales which was added as an afterthought - the story was obscure and Thomas himself couldn't remember its title when asked what to use to fill up the B-side - but this recording went on to become one of his most loved works, and launched Caedmon into a successful company.[3] The original 1952 recording was a selection for the 2008 United States National Recording Registry, stating it is "credited with launching the audiobook industry in the United States".[4] Caedmon used LP records, invented in 1948, which made longer recordings more affordable and practical, however most of their works were poems, plays and other short works, not unabridged books due to the LP's limitation of about a 45-minute playing time (combined sides).

Listening Library[5] was also a pioneering company, it was one of the first to distribute children's audiobooks to schools, libraries and other special markets, including VA hospitals.[6] It was founded by Anthony Ditlow and his wife in 1955 in their Red Bank, New Jersey home; Ditlow was partially blind.[6] Another early pioneering company was Spoken Arts founded in 1956 by Arthur Luce Klein and his wife, they produced over 700 recordings and were best known for poetry and drama recordings used in schools and libraries.[7] Like Caedemon, Listening Library and Spoken Arts benefited from the new technology of LPs, but also increased governmental funding for schools and libraries beginning in the 1950s and 60s.[6]

1970 to 1996

Though spoken recordings were popular in 33⅓ vinyl record format for schools and libraries into the early 1970s, the beginning of the modern retail market for audiobooks can be traced to the wide adoption of cassette tapes during the 1970s.[8] Cassette tapes were invented in 1963 and a few libraries, such as the Library of Congress, began distributing books on cassette by 1969.[8] However, during the 1970s, a number of technological innovations allowed the cassette tape wider usage in libraries and also spawned the creation of new commercial audiobook market.[8] These innovations included the introduction of small and cheap portable players such as the Walkman, and the widespread use of cassette decks in cars, particularly imported Japanese models which flooded the market during the multiple energy crises of the decade.[8]

In the early 1970s, instructional recordings were among the first commercial products sold on cassette.[8] There were 8 companies distributing materials on cassette with titles such as Managing and Selling Companies (12 cassettes, $300) and Executive Seminar in Sound on a series of 60-minute cassettes.[8] In libraries, most books on cassette were still made for the blind and handicapped, however some new companies saw the opportunity for making audiobooks for a wider audience, such as Voice Over Books which produced abridged best-sellers with professional actors.[8] Early pioneers included Olympic gold medalist Duvall Hecht who in 1975 founded the California-based Books on Tape as a direct to consumer mail order rental service for unabridged audiobooks and expanded their services selling their products to libraries and audiobooks gaining popularity with commuters and travelers.[8] In 1978, Henry Trentman, a traveling salesman who listened to sales tapes while driving long distances, had the idea to create quality unabridged recordings of classic literature read by professional actors.[9] His company, the Maryland-based Recorded Books, followed the model of Books on Tape but with higher quality studio recordings and actors.[9] Recorded Books and Chivers Audio Books were the first to develop integrated production teams and to work with professional actors.[10]

By 1984, there were eleven audiobook publishing companies, they included Caedmon, Metacom, Newman Communications, Recorded Books, Brilliance and Books on Tape.[8] The companies were small, the largest had a catalog of 200 titles.[8] Some abridged titles were being sold in bookstores, such as Walden Books, but had negligible sales figures, many were sold by mail-order subscription or through libraries.[8] However, in 1984, Brilliance Audio invented a technique for recording twice as much on the same cassette thus allowing for affordable unabridged editions.[8] The technique involved recording on each of the two channels of each stereo track.[8] This opened the market to new opportunities and by September 1985, Publishers Weekly identified twenty-one audiobook publishers.[8] These included new major publishers such as Harper and Row, Random House, and Warner Communications.[8]

1986 has been identified as the turning point in the industry, when it matured from an experimental curiosity.[8] A number of events happened: the Audio Publishers Association, a professional non-profit trade association, was established by publishers who joined together to promote awareness of spoken word audio and provide industry statistic.[8] Time-Life began offering members audiobooks.[8] Book-of-the-Month club began offering audiobooks to its members, as did the Literary Guild. Other clubs such as the History Book Club, Get Rich Club, Nostalgia Book Club, Scholastic club for children all began offering audiobooks.[8] Publishers began releasing religious and inspirational titles in Christian bookstores. By May 1987, Publishers Weekly initiated a regular column to cover the industry.[8] By the end of 1987, the audiobook market was estimated to be a $200 million market, and audiobooks on cassette were being sold in 75% of regional and independent bookstores surveyed by Publishers Weekly.[8] By August 1988 there were forty audiobook publishers, about four times as many as in 1984.[8]

By the middle of the 1990s, the audio publishing business grew to 1.5 billion dollars a year in retail value.[11] In 1996, the Audio Publishers Association established the Audie Awards for audiobooks, which is equivalent to the Oscar for the audiobook industry. The nominees are announced each year by February. The winners are announced at a gala banquet in May, usually in conjunction with BookExpo America.[12]

1996 to present

With the rise of the Internet, broadband technologies, new compressed audio formats and portable media players, the popularity of audiobooks has increased significantly during the late 1990s and 2000s. In 1997, pioneered the world's first mass-market digital media player, named "The Audible Player",[13] it retailed for $200, held 2 hours of audio and was touted as being "smaller and lighter than a Walkman", the popular cassette player used at the time.[14] Digital audiobooks were a significant new milestone as they allowed listeners freedom from physical media such as cassettes and CD-ROMs which required transportation through the mail, allowing instead instant download access from online libraries of unlimited size, and portability using comparatively small and lightweight devices. was the first to establish a website, in 1998, from which digital audiobooks could be purchased.

Another innovation was the creation of LibriVox in 2005 by Montreal-based writer Hugh McGuire who posed the question on his blog: "Can the net harness a bunch of volunteers to help bring books in the public domain to life through podcasting?" Thus began the creation of public domain audiobooks by volunteer narrators. By the end of 2017, LibriVox had a catalog of over 12,000 works and was producing about 1,000 per year.[15]

The transition from vinyl, to cassette, to CD, to MP3CD, to digital download has been documented by Audio Publishers Association in annual surveys (the earlier transition from record to cassette is described in the section on the 1970s). The final year that cassettes represented greater than 50% of total market sales was 2002.[16] Cassettes were replaced by CDs as the dominant medium during 2003-2004. CDs reached a peak of 78% of sales in 2008,[17] then began to decline in favor of digital downloads. The 2012 survey found CDs accounted for "nearly half" of all sales meaning it was no longer the dominate medium (APA did not report the digital download figures for 2012, but in 2011 CDs accounted for 53% and digital download was 41%).[18][19] The APA estimates that audiobook sales in 2015 in digital format increased by 34% over 2014.[20]

The resurgence of audio storytelling is widely attributed to advances in mobile technologies such as smartphones, tablets, and multimedia entertainment systems in cars, also known as connected car platforms.[21][22] Audio drama recordings are also now podcast over the internet.[23]

In 2014, Bob & Debra Deyan of Deyan Audio opened the Deyan Institute of Vocal Artistry and Technology, the world's first campus and school for teaching the art and technology of audiobook production.[24]

In 2018, approximately 50,000 audiobooks were recorded in the United States with a sales growth of 20 percent year over year.[25]


The evolution and use of audiobooks in Germany closely parallels that of the US. A special example of its use is the West German Audio Book Library for the Blind, founded in 1955. Actors from the municipal theater in Münster recorded the first audio books for the visually impaired in an improvised studio lined with egg cartons. Because trams rattled past, these first productions took place at night. Later, texts were recorded by trained speakers in professional studios and distributed to users by mail. Until the 1970s recordings were on tape reels, then later cassettes. Since 2004, the offerings have been recorded in the DAISY Digital Talking Book MP3 standard, which provides additional features for visually impaired users to both listen and navigate written material aurally.[26]


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. This is primarily due to lack of previous organized efforts on the part of publishers and authors. The marketing efforts and availability of Audiobooks has made India as one of the fastest growing Audiobooks markets in the world.

The lifestyle of urban Indian population and one of the highest daily commute time in the world has also helped in making Audiobooks popular in the region. 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.

Audio books are being released in various Indian languages. In Malayalam, the first audio novel, titled Ouija Board, was released by Kathacafe in 2018.[27] Now Indian companies are working towards Audio Books generation in the Indian Vernacular Languages. Listen Stories By Sahitya Chintan is an Android audio book library allowing listing 1000+ Hindi Audio Books. They are offering ample audio books freely. To access the entire catalog they are charging nominal membership of Rs. 199/ Year for Indian audio book listener and $5.99/Year for Rest of World.


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.[28] If a mistake is made the recording is stopped and the narrator reads it again.[28] With recent advancements in recording technology, many audiobooks are also now recorded in home studios by narrators working independently.[29] 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.[28] Depending on the narrator they are paid US$150 per finished hour to US$400 (as of 2011).[28] 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.[30]


An audiobook collection in a library. A mix of cassette tape and CD-ROM formats.

Audiobooks are distributed on any audio format available, but primarily these are records, cassette tapes, CDs, MP3 CDs, downloadable digital formats (e.g., MP3 (.mp3), Windows Media Audio (.wma), Advanced Audio Coding (.aac)), and solid state preloaded digital devices in which the audio content is preloaded and sold together with a hardware device.

In 1955, a German inventor introduced the Sound Book cassette system based on the Tefifon format where instead of a magnetic tape the sound was recorded on a continuous loop of grooved vinylite ribbon similar to the old 8-track tape. Even though the original Tefifon upon which it was based ran at 19 CPS and could hold a maximum of 4 hours, one Sound Book could hold eight hours of recordings as it ran at half the speed or 9.5 CPS. However, just like the Tefifon, the format never became widespread in use.[31]

A small number of books are recorded for radio broadcast, usually in abridged form and sometimes serialized, notably National Public Radio's broadcast of Star Wars and several projects by the BBC. Audiobooks may come as fully dramatized versions of the printed book, sometimes calling upon a complete cast, music, and sound effects. Effectively audio dramas, these audiobooks are known as full cast audio books. BBC radio stations Radio 3, Radio 4, and Radio 4 Extra have broadcast such productions as the William Gibson novel Neuromancer.[32]

An audio first production is a spoken word audio work that is an original production but not based on a book. Examples include Joe Hill, the son of Stephen King, who released a Vinyl First audiobook called Dark Carousel in 2018. It came in a 2-LP vinyl set, or as a downloadable MP3, but with no published text.[33] Another example includes Spin, The Audiobook Musical (2018), a musical rendition of Rumpelstiltskin narrated by Jim Dale, and featuring a cast of Broadway musical stars.[34]


Farm Extension Worker
Audiobook used to disseminate information among farmers in Kenya.

Audiobooks have been used to teach children to read and to increase reading comprehension. They 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.

About 40 percent of all audiobook consumption occurs through public libraries, with the remainder served primarily through retail book stores. Library download programs are currently experiencing rapid growth (more than 5,000 public libraries offer free downloadable audio books). Libraries are also popular places to check out audio books in the CD format.[35] According to the National Endowment for the Arts' study, "Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America" (2004), audiobook listening is one of very few "types" of reading that is increasing general literacy.[36]

Listening practices

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. The most popular general use of audiobooks by adults is when commuting with an automobile or while traveling with public transport, as an alternative to radio. Many people listen as well just to relax or as they drift off to sleep.

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 is that an audio performance makes some books more interesting.[37]

Common practices include:

  • 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.[38]

Charitable and nonprofit organizations

Founded in 1948, Learning Ally serves more than 300,000 K-12, college and graduate students, veterans and lifelong learners – all of whom cannot read standard print due to blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia, or other learning disabilities. Learning Ally’s collection of more than 80,000 human-narrated textbooks and literature titles can be downloaded on mainstream smartphones and tablets, and is the largest of its kind in the world.

Founded in 2002, Bookshare is an online library of computer-read audiobooks in accessible formats for people with print disabilities.

Founded in 2005, LibriVox is also an online library of downloadable audiobooks and a free non for profit organisation developed by Hugh McGuire. It has audiobooks in several languages. Most of their languages are typically Western European languages. [39]

Calibre Audio Library is a UK charity providing a subscription-free service of unabridged audiobooks for people with sight problems, dyslexia or other disabilities, who cannot read print. They have a library of over 8,550 fiction and non-fiction titles which can be borrowed by post on MP3 CDs and memory sticks or via streaming.[40]

Listening Books is a UK audiobook charity providing an internet streaming, download and postal service to anyone who has a disability or illness which makes it difficult to hold a book, turn its pages, or read in the usual way, this includes people with visual, physical, learning or mental health difficulties. They have audiobooks for both leisure and learning and a library of over 7,500 titles which are recorded in their own digital studios or commercially sourced.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is a UK charity which offers a Talking Books library service. The audio books are provided in DAISY format and delivered to the reader's house by post. There are over 18,000 audio books available to borrow, paid for by annual subscription. RNIB subsidises the Talking Books service by around £4 million a year.[41]

Example of an audio studio for professional readings.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Matthew Rubery, ed. (2011). "Introduction". Audiobooks, Literature, and Sound Studies. Routledge. pp. 1–21. ISBN 978-0-415-88352-8.
  2. ^ "Cylinder Recordings". Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  3. ^ a b c d "Caedmon: Recreating the Moment of Inspiration". NPR Morning Edition. December 5, 2002. Archived from the original on March 7, 2014. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  4. ^ "The National Recording Registry 2008". National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Kids and Teens". Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Shannon Maughan (March 7, 2005). "Sounds Like Celebration". Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on March 19, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  7. ^ "Arthur Klein, 81. Made Literary Recordings". The New York Times. April 21, 1997. Archived from the original on March 30, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Virgil L. P. Blake (1990). "Something New Has Been Added: Aural Literacy and Libraries". Information Literacies for the Twenty-First Century. G. K. Hall & Co. pp. 203–218. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  9. ^ a b John Blades (May 21, 1991). "The Olivier Of Books On Audio Tape". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on January 13, 2014. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
  10. ^ "A Brief History of Audio Books". 2007-09-18. Archived from the original on 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  11. ^ Hendren, John (August 29, 1995). "Recorded Books: Winning War With Rush-Hour Traffic : Commuting: Henry Trentman says his audio books are the 'world's greatest tranquilizer' for stressed-out drivers". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. Archived from the original on January 12, 2014. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
  12. ^ "Audie Award". Archived from the original on 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  13. ^ "Progressive Networks and Audible Inc. Team Up to Make RealAudio Mobile". September 15, 1997. Archived from the original on January 18, 1998. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  14. ^ "The Audible Player". 1997. Archived from the original on January 18, 1998. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  15. ^ MaryAnnSpiegel (January 1, 2018). "LibriVox stats". LibriVox. Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  16. ^ Audio Publishers Association Fact Sheet Archived October 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine (also includes some historical perspective in the 1950s by Marianne Roney)
  17. ^ Kaitlin Friedmann (September 15, 2008). "More Americans Are All Ears To Audiobooks" (PDF). Audio Publishers Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 21, 2015. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  18. ^ The Audio Publishers Association (November 21, 2013). "Audibooks Industry Showing Enormous Growth" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  19. ^ "Industry Data". Audio Publishers Association. Archived from the original on March 19, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  20. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-06-09. Retrieved 2016-09-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) APA, May 23, 2016
  21. ^ Roose, Kevin (October 3, 2014). "What's Behind the Great Podcast Renaissance?". New York. Archived from the original on July 15, 2015. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  22. ^ Kang, Cecilia (September 25, 2014). "Podcasts are back — and making money". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 23, 2015. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  23. ^ Purcell, Julius (March 27, 2015). "The resurgence of audio drama". Financial Times. Archived from the original on July 23, 2015. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  24. ^ Mary Burkey (March 13, 2014). "Elevating the Art of the Audiobook: Deyan Institute of Voice Artistry & Technology". Booklist. Archived from the original on June 13, 2014. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  25. ^ Fitzpatrick, Molly (2018-05-30). "Portrait of the Voice in My Head". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  26. ^ Sabine Tenta: The Audible Gate to the World: The West German Audio Book Library for the Blind (Goethe-Institut, 2009) online Archived 2011-01-27 at the Wayback Machine (in English) retrieved 26-May-2012
  27. ^ "First Malayalam audio novel 'Ouija Board' launched". Archived from the original on 17 April 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  28. ^ a b c d ALLEN PIERLEONI. "The right voice can send an audiobook up the charts", McClatchy Newspapers, June 29, 2011.
  29. ^ "Narrator Resources". Audio Publishers Association. Archived from the original on 2014-10-28. Retrieved 2014-10-28.
  30. ^ "From Papyrus to Pixels". The Economist. December 2014. Archived from the original on January 3, 2015. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  31. ^ "Grooved Tape Recording Plays For Eight Hours." Archived 2015-04-07 at the Wayback Machine Popular Mechanics, July 1955, p. 141.
  32. ^ "William Gibson's Seminal Cyberpunk Novel, Neuromancer, Dramatized for Radio (2002)". Open Culture. Archived from the original on 6 February 2018. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  33. ^ Michael Kozlowski (February 20, 2018). "Joe Hill is creating a Vinyl First Audiobook". Good E-Reader. Archived from the original on February 21, 2018. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  34. ^ Michael Kozlowski (December 17, 2018). "Global Audiobook Trends and Statistics for 2018". Good E-Reader. Archived from the original on February 21, 2018. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  35. ^ "New Audio". 2012-06-15. Archived from the original on 2012-02-15. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  36. ^ National Endowment for the Arts (June 2004). "Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America (Research Division Report #46)". Archived from the original on 2014-06-04.
  37. ^ "Audiobooks: Billion-Dollar Industry Shows Steady Growth". PW's Audiobook Blog. 2013-02-25. Archived from the original on 2014-10-28. Retrieved 2014-10-28.
  38. ^ "What Kind of Listener Are You?". Random House Audio. Archived from the original on 2014-10-28. Retrieved 2014-10-28.
  39. ^ "About Librivox". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2015-12-09.
  40. ^ "Calibre services". 2013-03-28. Archived from the original on 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  41. ^ "RNIB Talking Books Service". 2012-06-08. Archived from the original on 2012-07-24. Retrieved 2012-08-02.

External links

Audible (store)

Audible is a seller and producer of spoken audio entertainment, information, and educational programming on the Internet. Audible sells digital audiobooks, radio and TV programs, and audio versions of magazines and newspapers. Through its production arm, Audible Studios, Audible has also become the world's largest producer of downloadable audiobooks. Audible's content is only accessible through special proprietary closed software, including unauthorized-playback prevention by means of an Amazon user name and password.

On January 31, 2008 announced it would buy Audible for about $300 million. The deal closed in March 2008 and Audible became a subsidiary of Amazon. The company is based in Newark, NJ and is expanding its presence in the city with the creation of a new technology center. Audible is the United States' largest audio book producer and retailer.

Books on Tape (company)

Books on Tape (sometimes abbreviated BoT) is an audiobook publishing imprint of Random House which emphasized unabridged audiobook recordings for schools and libraries. Prior to the acquisition by Random House in October 2001, the company was founded in California by Olympic gold medalist Duvall Hecht in 1975 as a direct to consumer mail order rental service for unabridged audiobooks on cassette tape. It was one of the pioneering companies in the fledgling audiobook business along with Recorded Books.

Cherry Jones

Cherry Jones (born November 21, 1956) is an American actress. A five-time Tony Award nominee for her work on Broadway, she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the 1995 revival of The Heiress and for the 2005 original production of Doubt. She won the 2009 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Allison Taylor on the FOX television series 24. She has also won three Drama Desk Awards.

Jones made her Broadway debut in the 1987 original Broadway production of Stepping Out. Other stage credits include Pride's Crossing (1997–98) and The Glass Menagerie (2013–14). Her film appearances include The Horse Whisperer (1998), Erin Brockovich (2000), The Village (2004), Amelia (2009) and The Beaver (2011). In 2012, she played Dr. Judith Evans on the NBC drama Awake.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (album)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is an audiobook and soundtrack album for the 1982 blockbuster film of the same name directed by Steven Spielberg. Narrated by American recording artist Michael Jackson and featuring music composed by John Williams, the album was produced by composer Quincy Jones and distributed by MCA Records. The production of the audiobook brought Jackson together with several former collaborators, such as Rod Temperton, Freddy DeMann, and Bruce Swedien.

The E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial audiobook was released by MCA on November 7, 1982—the same month as Jackson's acclaimed sixth studio album Thriller despite conditions given by Epic Records, Jackson's record label, that it should not be released until after Thriller. As a result, Epic took legal action against MCA which forced the album's withdrawal. During its curtailed release, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial reached number 82 on the UK Albums Chart. It was well-received critically and won Jackson a Grammy Award for Best Recording for Children.

Ed Westwick

Edward Jack Peter Westwick (born 27 June 1987) is an English actor and musician, best known for his role as Chuck Bass on The CW's teen television drama series Gossip Girl alongside co-stars Blake Lively and Leighton Meester (2007–2012). He made his feature film debut in Children of Men (2006) and has since appeared in the films Breaking and Entering (2006), Son of Rambow (2007), S. Darko (2009), Chalet Girl (2011), J. Edgar (2011), Romeo and Juliet (2013), Bone in the Throat (2015), Freaks of Nature (2015), and Billionaire Ransom (2016). He currently plays Vincent Swan in the BBC Two television comedy series White Gold (2017).

Iain Glen

Iain Glen (born 24 June 1961) is a Scottish film, television, and stage actor. Glen is known for his roles as Dr. Alexander Isaacs / Tyrant in the Resident Evil film series and as Ser Jorah Mormont in the HBO fantasy television series Game of Thrones. Other notable roles include John Hanning Speke in Mountains of the Moon, Sir Richard Carlisle in Downton Abbey, the title role in Jack Taylor, and Jarrod Slade in Cleverman.

Jeremy Northam

Jeremy Philip Northam (born 1 December 1961) is an English actor. After a number of television roles, he earned attention as Mr. Knightley in the 1996 film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma. He has appeared in the films Gosford Park, Amistad, The Winslow Boy, Enigma, Martin and Lewis, amongst others. He also played Thomas More in the Showtime series The Tudors. From 2016 to 2017 he appeared as Anthony Eden in the Netflix series The Crown.


LibriVox is a group of worldwide volunteers who read and record public domain texts creating free public domain audiobooks for download from their website and other digital library hosting sites on the internet. It was founded in 2005 by Hugh McGuire to provide "Acoustical liberation of books in the public domain" and the LibriVox objective is "To make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet".On 6 August 2016, the project completed project number 10,000. and from 2009–2017 was producing about 1,000 items per year. Most releases are in the English language, but many non-English works are also available. There are multiple affiliated projects that are providing additional content. LibriVox is closely affiliated with Project Gutenberg from where the project gets some of its texts, and the Internet Archive that hosts their offerings.

List of Doctor Who audiobooks

This is a list of Doctor Who audiobooks. The first Doctor Who audiobook, consisting of readings by Gabriel Woolf of the novelisations of The Three Doctors, Carnival of Monsters, and Terror of the Zygons, was produced by the RNIB in 1978 and was available only to the registered blind through the RNIB and libraries. The first audiobook available to the general public was a Tom Baker reading of the State of Decay novelisation, released in 1981.

From 1995 to 1997, recordings of the novelisations of seven Doctor Who serials and three sets of original short stories were released by the BBC on cassette. Each of the novelisations was read by the actor who had portrayed the Doctor in the respective serial. The short stories were read by various actors associated with the series. All of these recordings were re-released in the Tales from the TARDIS MP3-CD collections in 2004.

In 2005 publishing began of two new sets of audiobooks. The first consisted of novelisations of serials from the "Classic" Doctor Who era, the second series consists of original novels from the New Series Adventures line. Starting in 2007, the RNIB produced unabridged versions of selected Ninth and Tenth Doctor audiobooks as well as selected Classic Series novelisations.

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List of Doctor Who novelisations

This is a list of Doctor Who novelisations, in order of publication.

The first three Doctor Who serials to be novelised were the William Hartnell stories The Daleks (as Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks by David Whitaker), The Web Planet (Doctor Who and the Zarbi by Bill Strutton) and The Crusade (Doctor Who and the Crusaders by Whitaker). They were published in hardback by Frederick Muller Ltd; the first was also published in paperback, by Armada.

Between 1973 and 1991, Target Books published almost every Doctor Who television serial as a novelisation, starting with new editions of the Frederick Muller books. When Target was closed down by Virgin Books in 1991, three further serials – The Power of the Daleks and The Evil of the Daleks by John Peel and the radio serial The Paradise of Death by Barry Letts – were added to the range. Reprints under the Target imprint continued through 1994.

The only serials from the original 1963–1989 run of the show never to have been officially novelised by Target and its related companies are The Pirate Planet, City of Death, Shada, Resurrection of the Daleks, and Revelation of the Daleks, due to licensing issues with the original scriptwriters. All were later novelised by BBC Books. The Children in Need special Dimensions in Time and the Comic Relief spoof Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death have also not been novelised.

BBC Books published a novelisation of the 1996 Doctor Who television movie by Gary Russell. Random House, through its United Kingdom division, acquired a 90% stake in Virgin Books (including Target) in March 2007. In November 2009, Virgin became an independent imprint within Ebury Publishing, a division of the Random House Group. In 2006, the Ebury Publishing acquired a majority shareholding in BBC Books, allowing BBC Books to publish novelisations of four stories from the post-2005 revived series ("Rose", "The Christmas Invasion", "The Day of the Doctor", and "Twice Upon a Time") as part of the Target range on 4 April 2018. Also, Pearson Education published adaptations of four Eleventh Doctor and six Twelfth Doctor stories for use in schools.

In addition to the television serials, three scripts from the cancelled Season 23 – The Nightmare Fair, The Ultimate Evil and Mission to Magnus – were novelised. A short series entitled The Companions of Doctor Who comprised the novelisation of K-9 and Company along with the original works Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma and Harry Sullivan's War.

Besides The Paradise of Death, Target also novelised two additional non-televised stories: the radio play Slipback and the audio story The Pescatons.

A novelisation by Barry Letts of a further radio drama, The Ghosts of N-Space, was published as part of the Virgin Missing Adventures range in 1995, as was the novelisation of the independent spin-off Downtime; in the same year, the Virgin New Adventures range published a novelisation of Shakedown: The Return of the Sontarans. The most recent novelisations to be published are Rose, The Christmas Invasion, The Day of the Doctor, and Twice Upon a Time.

In 2005, BBC Audio released unabridged audiobook versions of the first three Frederick Muller novelisations, read by actor William Russell (who played Ian Chesterton). Beginning in September 2007, they began releasing further unabridged audiobooks of the Target novelisations at a rate of approximately two every two months; the books themselves remain officially out of print. BBC Books began reprinting selected titles starting in July 2011.

Martin Jarvis (actor)

Martin Jarvis, OBE (born 4 August 1941) is an English actor and voice actor. After a varied career in film and television, he has become particularly noted for his voice acting for radio and audiobooks.

Mostly Harmless

Mostly Harmless is a 1992 novel by Douglas Adams and the fifth book in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. It is described on the cover of the first editions as "The fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhikers Trilogy". It was the last Hitchhiker's book written by Adams and his final book released in his lifetime.


Playster is a global subscription-based entertainment service, providing on-demand movies, television shows, music, video games, ebooks and audiobooks.

Richard E. Grant

Richard E. Grant (born Richard Grant Esterhuysen; 5 May 1957) is a Swazi-English actor. He made his film debut as Withnail in the drama Withnail and I (1987). Other film roles include John Seward in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) and Zander Rice in Logan (2017). He won several critics' awards and was nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting performance as Jack Hock in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018).

On television, Grant has played Bob Cratchit in TNT's A Christmas Carol (1999), Izembaro in the sixth season of the HBO series Game of Thrones, the Great Intelligence in the seventh series of Doctor Who and Simon Bricker in the critically acclaimed ITV/Masterpiece program Downton Abbey. He will appear in Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) in a currently undisclosed part.

Ruth Wilson

Ruth Wilson (born 13 January 1982) is an English actress. She is known for her performances in Suburban Shootout (2005), Jane Eyre (2006), as Alice Morgan in the BBC TV psychological crime drama Luther (2010–2013, 2019), and as Alison Lockhart in the Showtime drama The Affair (2014–2018). Her film credits include The Lone Ranger (2013), Saving Mr. Banks (2013), I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016), and Dark River (2017).

Wilson is a three-time Olivier Award nominee and two-time winner, earning the Best Actress for the titular role in Anna Christie, and Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Stella Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. She has won a Golden Globe for her role in The Affair and received nominations for a British Academy Television Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for her role in Jane Eyre.

Sophie Turner

Sophie Turner (born 21 February 1996) is an English actress. Turner made her professional acting debut as Sansa Stark on the HBO fantasy television series Game of Thrones (2011–present), which brought her international recognition.

Turner starred in the television film The Thirteenth Tale (2013) and she made her feature film debut in Another Me (2013). She starred in the action comedy Barely Lethal (2015) and portrays a young Jean Grey / Phoenix in the X-Men film series (2016–present).

The Ugly Duckling (audiobook)

The Ugly Duckling is an audiobook of the classic fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen. It is narrated by American singer-actress Cher, and was released in 1987 by Windham Hill Records.

Will Patton

William Rankin Patton (born June 14, 1954) is an American actor and audiobook narrator. He starred as Colonel Dan Weaver in the TNT science fiction series Falling Skies. He also appeared in films such as Remember the Titans, Armageddon, Gone in 60 Seconds and The Punisher. He appeared opposite Kevin Costner in two films: No Way Out (1987) and The Postman (1997). Patton's father, Bill Patton, was a playwright and acting/directing instructor. Patton has been in many films, starting in 1981. He has done many television appearances as well, starting in 1982 and he has done a great deal of voice work with audio books. He won two Obie Awards for best actor in Sam Shepard's play Fool for Love and the Public Theater production of What Did He See?.

World War Z

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is a 2006 apocalyptic horror novel written by American author Max Brooks. The novel is a collection of individual accounts narrated by an agent of the United Nations Postwar Commission, following the devastating global conflict against the zombie plague. Other passages record a decade-long desperate struggle, as experienced by people of various nationalities. The personal accounts also describe the resulting social, political, religious, and environmental changes.

World War Z is a follow-up to Brooks' "survival manual", The Zombie Survival Guide (2003), but its tone is much more serious. It was inspired by The Good War: An Oral History of World War Two (1984) by Studs Terkel, and by the zombie films of George A. Romero. Brooks used World War Z to comment on government ineptitude and US isolationism, while also examining survivalism and uncertainty. The novel was a commercial hit and was praised by most critics.

Its audiobook version, performed by a full cast including Alan Alda, Mark Hamill, and John Turturro, won an Audie Award in 2007. A film with the same name as the novel, directed by Marc Forster and starring Brad Pitt, was released in 2013.

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