The publishing sector in recent years has undergone a major upheaval. E-books have radically changed the publishing market and the methods for using texts.
Certainly one of the most obvious consequences of the digital revolution has been the consistent increase in audiobooks on the market. Most of the new editorial releases are also proposed in the audio version.
When were audiobooks created and how did they spread?
Contrary to what one might think, audiobooks are not so recent. The origins of audiobooks as we know them, even go back to the ’30s with vinyl records and then on analogue cassettes.
It must be said however, that already with the invention of the Phonograph, Thomas Edison in 1877 imagined creating phonograph books for blind people.
The Phonograph amazed so many people who began calling Edison “The Wizard of Menlo Park”.
One of Edison’s earliest recordings with the phonograph was the super famous “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.
Subsequently, the first audiobooks were introduced for purely educational purposes. The advent of the internet then allowed the introduction of audiobooks in people’s everyday life.
Increasingly used, audiobooks have recorded an exponential growth in the last four years.
Why audiobooks are increasingly appreciated?
Needless to say, the biggest advantage of audiobooks is the ability to listen and appreciate a good book even in times when you have no way of holding one in your hands.
The greatest advantage can therefore be summarized in one word: multitasking!
You can listen to a book while you are intent on doing anything that does not require much attention. Most audiobook users use it when they are travelling.
Of great support to the diffusion and development of audiobooks is the introduction of new technologies, such as mp3s players and smartphones which are unsurpassed.
Reading a good book provides many benefits such as intellectual enrichment, emotional fulfilment and entertainment. Is it really possible to enjoy these benefits also through audiobooks?
There are those who would swear!
Many say that by listening to a book, it is possible to grasp many more details that are lost with silent reading.
The rhythm of an audiobook narration is consistent with the author’s thinking, pauses are of great importance and this allows the listener to grasp more nuances.
Certainly to enjoy the most from of an audiobook, it is important to note that the type of book needs to be in line with the environment and with the circumstance in which you are listening to it.
It is unthinkable to listen to a demanding and very long text, even while training, but the same is not true for a novel or short stories.
The Storyteller makes the difference! Who are the most famous audiobook narrators?
Storytellers have a huge responsibility because they can undermine the experience of listening irreparably. The work of a narrator has much more complex dynamics than it is believed.
Before buying an audiobook it is recommended to listen to a small excerpt to understand if you like the voice of the narrator, as it will accompany you for several hours.
One of the most famous audiobook narrator is the award-winning January LaVoy, who, like most of the narrators, is a theater and TV actress.
LaVoy explains how important it is to read the text at least once before recording it to fix the pitches well.
Very often the intonation of a character is explicit at the end of the direct speech (e.g. “I love you” he whispered…) so for a narrator it is essential to know first what tone to use.
A good storyteller, says LaVoy, always tries to talk to the author of the book, some even go to the place where the text is set. There is therefore a real process of research and identification before proceeding with registration.
As for the cinema, also in the audiobook sector, various awards are bestowed. Each year, the Audio Publisher Association hosts the Audie Awards, whose operation is very similar to that of the Oscars.
Various categories are awarded, among the most desired awards are audiobook of the year and best storyteller.
In addition to LaVoy, another famous storytellers is Jim Dale who lent his voice to the bestseller saga Harry Potter!
Jim is the narrator of all seven chapters of the world’s most famous wizard.
He thinks that the greatest talent for a narrator is to grasp the meaning implied by words and words.
We can also mention Scott Brick who has won five Audie Awards and is another very important name in the industry.
Scott, who is the narrator of Jurassic Park, attributes the success of audiobooks to a purely psychological factor; listening to a story told by someone else brings us back to the delicate and calm moments.
Audiobooks let us return to our childhood.