How could you forget the joy of listening to your grandparents’ stories while sipping on a cup of hot cocoa, or the many children’s stories that made us dream before falling asleep. How about remembering the horror stories seasoned by the intonation of our favorite narrator’s voice, and the dramatized readings that made it possible to imagine the lively imagery of a bestseller book that was brought to life by the sheer power of the human voice.
As you can see, we have been in a constant relationship with oral reading for a long time. It should not be surprising that, as of now, audiobooks are gaining ground within the publishing industry. According to the consulting firm Deloitte (one of the four largest in the world), the consumption of audiobooks will increase between 25 and 30% in the next five years. This forecast is based on the idea that readers will gradually become convinced of the benefits of audiobooks which, by the way, are no longer what they used to be: a limited number of works narrated mechanically (Vivar, 2020).
Now, not only do we have a plethora of options (some platforms have thousands of titles available), but also we have important efforts in the production of audiobooks in which professional narrators participate and sound effects are added to match and create the particular atmosphere that each text demands. Such is the case of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, narrated in English by actor and comedian Stephen Fry; Unbreakable, bestseller by actor and lecturer Daniel Habif who also gives voice to his work, or Desierto sonoro by Valeria Luiselli, narrated by actress Marina de Tavira who was Oscar-nominated for her role in Alfonso Cuarón’s award-winning Roma.
It is worth mentioning that audiobook platforms have been able to climb up the ladder of e-commerce trends by offering their products via streaming. In the words of José Alberto Parra (CEO at Storytel Mexico and Colombia) the audiobook shows a high demand due to the high consumption numbers of content such as music and podcasts. In addition, this format converts new audiences into readers and serves to liven up their commutes from home to school or work (Parra, 2020).
With an ever-expanding market and an increase in, both, platforms and titles in their catalogs, the audiobook is poised to conquer much of the publishing market in the coming years. Driven by the convenience of streaming and a long tradition that has acquainted us with «oral reading», it will be more and more common to listen to books at home, in the office, on our way to school, and in recreational and professional contexts. Now, tell me, what book are you listening to?
Some of the most listened audiobooks of the moment