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Audio Books - How Did They Come About?

Mar 28, 2008
One of the very first cases of audio books being recorded in America happened way back in 1933 when award winning anthropologist, John Peabody Harrington (1884-1961) recorded the histories, rituals, songs and languages of many native American tribes. Whilst this audio book was a very basic example it helped develop an interest in 'talking books'.

If you have elderly relatives they are, at some time during their youth, sure to have listened to the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) which pioneered the broadcasting of regular readings of classic novels.

It was about this time that the American Congress identified potential users who were in great need of the audio book - the tens of thousands of blind citizens who were not able to read regular book publications.

Congress developed the "Books for the Adult Blind Project" and it wasn't long before the National Library Service had millions of audio books covering literally every conceivable type of subject available to the blind public.

These early 'talking books' were quite cumbersome to play as they were typically played on 'reel to reel' tape players or were recorded onto Long Player (LP) records. They were usually quite low budget recordings and consisted of a basic narration of the book.

The audio book concept took a massive change for the better during the 1960's principally due to the invention of cassette player/recorder equipment. Because of this technological advancement in recording music and talking books it brought the audio book format into the realm of popular culture as it appealed to consumers on mass. The development of the cassette player recorder allowed ease of use through the portability of the cassette player. This coincided with the universal interest in self-improvement subjects and this in turn lead to cassette recordings of an instructional or educational nature becoming incredibly popular. The cassette style recordings reached a peak with self-help audio-books and then expanded to include a wide range of general topics such as those addressing the humanities.

Further, the audio book format became even more popular with the public following the advent of the compact disc. This innovation further developed the audio book market as it allowed people to listen to their audio book whilst travelling to or from work on the bus or train or while engaged in physical exercise.

The audio book business is now a billion dollar industry with literally thousands of retailers and audio book rental and hire companies springing up everywhere. Many people are today choosing to listen rather than read their novels, and most of these industry specialists provide excellent service delivering your selection of books directly to your door.

Modern audio book publications are a far cry from the early low budget one narrator efforts. Today audio book publishers use high tech studios in which they produce high-quality recordings. These audio books feature large character casts who really put on a show and make the book exciting and well worth listening to.

With the hectic lifestyle that the majority of people today seem to have, the option of being able to listen to your favorite novel on your MP3 or iPod is a very appealing, yet simple option. Audio books can now be downloaded in just a few minutes and at a very low cost. They are the perfect choice for mixing business with pleasure and making the most out of the limited free time that many of us have today.
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If you would like more information on a Free Audio Book Club trial then go to Audio Books Retreat
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