Open Book Blog Hop – Audio books

How will the literary world grow going forward?

Are audiobooks the future of book sales? Do you have your stories on audio?

I am an audiobook fan. I buy at least 4 audiobooks a month and always have one on the go. I as buy audiobooks for Michael and encourage him to listen to them every day. He is my slower reader and audiobooks allow him to read more books than he would manage on his own. It takes Michael about one month to read one of his Rick Riordan books.

Greg, on the other hand, is a fast reader and will read several books during his holidays, galloping through them in a few hours or days, depending on their length and complexity.

So far this year, I’ve listened to Collected Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe, The Invisible Man, To the Last Man, A Farewell to Arms, A Gentleman in Moscow, All Quiet on the Western Front, and Sunwielder. I am currently 85% of the way through Gone with the Wind and already have The Divine Comedy lined up as my next read, followed by Why by Daniel Kemp.

I love being read to almost as much as I love reading. I like to listen to classic books, in case you hadn’t noticed, as I listen slower than I read so I enjoy them more. Some more complex modern books are also better appreciated, in my opinion, as audiobooks and if they are available on Audible I buy them.

My own books are not available as audiobooks. This is purely because my publisher does not offer audiobooks and I like her very much so I am prepared to accept her view on this matter. Maybe one day I will have audiobooks as well as ebooks and paperback books.

Now to the question, are audiobooks the future of book sales? I don’t think so. I think audiobooks have their place in the literary world and I know people who also listen to audiobooks while they exercise, do housework, and other mundane tasks including driving. These people are not, however, the majority of the readers I know. Most readers seem to prefer paperbacks and ebooks. This may be a cost thing as audiobooks are a lot more expensive.

Luckily for me, my husband gifts me three Audible credits a month. Sometimes I run out and then I buy three more credits at approximately US$11 each. Most audio books are well over US$20 so it works out quite reasonably.

I gift my mom a lot of audiobooks too. She rests every afternoon and she likes to listen to audiobooks. Sometimes we share books but usually I buy her different books to the ones I like. She likes books like the Wheel of Time series and Game of Thrones, which I will never listen too. They are lovely and long and keep her entertained for a good few weeks.

As for the youth [meaning teenagers], well, they don’t really like any kind of traditional book. They like computer game stories. The games my sons play are very sophisticated and are scripted with complex plots, music, and lots of reading. They are almost like interactive books. I think these sorts of gaming stories will be a large part of the future of books.

There will, however, always be traditional books and readers in my opinion. The readers of the world have always been the minority of the population as reading doesn’t appeal to everyone. Like research, writing, playing a musical instrument, dancing, singing, sports, and acting, reading is not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s okay. It takes all kinds of people to make a world.

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69 thoughts on “Open Book Blog Hop – Audio books

    1. Hi Priscilla, I thought the computer game stories were interesting too. My sons believe this is the future of books and literacy. They are both planning to study IT at university. I read a lot more than I listen, but I do like to take advantage of every spare second.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I agree, with the cost of audiobooks, they will never appeal to everyone. For years, I did not like audiobooks, I could not stay focused, and even though I now listen to more books than I read, there will always be people who will prefer physical or ebooks. Great discussion topic for sure.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Carla, maybe life circumstances and timing also play a role in people’s choice in this regard. My mom also loves audio books and she gets through them much quicker than I do because she listens while she knits and rests. That is a good number of hours in a day. I can only listen for about an hour a day with everything else I do. They are expensive.

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  2. Hi Robbie – I agree with you that audiobooks will not replace print books and eBooks, but I agree that they definitely have their place in the publishing world. Audiobook presentations are so professional and are truly major productions. They are much more expensive to purchase for our library and it makes sense to me. It’s interesting that you choose a lot of classics to listen to as audiobooks. I do the exact opposite. I much prefer to listen to thrillers and less complex books – usually because I listen during my walks. As for young and teenage readers, only one of mine would listen to the audiobook version and read along, rather than just read. I also agree with you that the storylines with computer games are complex and indirectly introduce players into storytelling. Great post!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you, Barbara. Michael was sick a lot as a small boy. He used to lie on the couch and listen to audiobooks for hours. He loved the Famous Five books by Enid Blyton but he also liked non-fiction. We have lots of audio books about early America, scientists, Vikings and the like. I used to sit near him and work while he listened. One of our favourite audio books was Children of the New Forest. I’m glad you enjoyed this post.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. If you join Audible.com, they aren’t so expensive. They have a lot of sales and quite a lot of books that are free — many of which are classics. You might give them a look. I think you get a free month’s trial.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Hi Marilyn, thank you for this advice. I’ll investigate. Most free books are not available in South Africa, even free kindle promotions are not free for me, I have to purchase the book. I don’t know why that is.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. HI Jacqui, we are safe at the moment and have community defense plans if necessary. Most of the trouble is in the townships, CBD and in Durban and Pietermartizburg which are at the coast. They are near Zululand and the issue is all about the imprisonment of the Zulu leader and ex-President Jacob Zuma.

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    2. Yes, listening is slower than reading although you can speed up the narration. For me, the whole point is to listen at a slower pace than I would usually read so that I can appreciate the details and descriptions.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the slowness. I’m a really fast reader and I miss a lot. Not on purpose, but I tend to skim. It’s really hard for me to slow down. Also, at this point in life, my eyes appreciate the break!

    Audiobooks are not all that expensive if you belong to Audible.com. They now have a “free” section with a lot of books in it, so even if you’ve eaten all the books for which you got credits, there are always more and many of the ones that are free are classics. I’ve got a couple of Bronte novels waiting, but I’ve been deep into history recently.

    I’m also trying to find a good audiobook with a history of Australia. I was surprised at so far being unable to find one. There are a few, but they seem to be more comedy than real history. If you know of one, could you let me know?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I think there’s a place, any medium that can introduce people to the written word is valuable. For some, it’s the only way they can experience literature. My mother used to read to me, I consider audiobooks to be the grown-up version of that.

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    1. Hi Richard, I also listen to audiobooks because I like having a book read to me. My granny used to read to me. My mom never did because I was an early reader and she thought I should read to myself. It is wonderful that books are available in so many forms now.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. HI John, I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I actually rarely read a book anymore. I find them bulky compared to my ipad for ebooks and my iphone for audiobooks. I often buy both the ebook and the paperback if I really like a book. I keep the paperback as a collectible.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. My grandson is two and we’re modeling reading from books. We’re also teaching him word recognition using picture books. As long as readers continue to raise mini-readers, I believe there will still be actual hard copies in hands. Audio books have their place, and I think they will survive as well.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Linda, I am delighted to hear our grandson is starting on the reading journey. That is such a fun time in a child’s life. I miss having small children who are so delighted by everything around them. Teenagers are a little on the cynical side…

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  6. I learned long ago that different people learn in different ways. The same is true for reading. There’s a place for any medium that introduces people to books.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I had a student who wrote his term paper on story-based computer games. It was very interesting! (One of the best papers to come out of the class, as a matter of fact.) As for me, I enjoy listening to podcasts, but I prefer to read books.

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    1. I would love to read that paper, Sigh! Me, I am not fussy, what ever form of reading is convenient works for me and I find audiobooks very useful for travel. They help pass the time on the plane and in a bus or car.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Audiobooks are truly the trending thing these days. I have yet to dive into them but would like to eventually get my books on audio as well as print. Thanks for sharing, Robbie! I love that your children read.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Jan, the authors I’ve spoken to about audio books don’t get many sales. I think price prohibits a lot of people. You can buy the ebook for a few dollars in comparison. That being said, I would also like to convert my books to audiobooks but that would be another huge effort and I can’t do it right now with everything else.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love audio books as I am an even slower reader than Micheal. Even listening takes me ages. I think there is a place for audio in the future alongside ebooks and physical books. Physical books can be a treasure and so tactile. Audio is convenient as are ebooks. Ebooks I find help keep the house tidy. But if I love an audio book I might by it or paperback and even ebook – I can go over the top. But I am slow at all forms of reading and listening.

    Great Post truly loved it. Interesting about your books. The whole publishing world is so interesting. I never got into it before.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. HI Bella, I am glad you enjoyed this post and found it interesting. I knew absolutely nothing about publishing in 2016 when I started. I didn’t even have a FB page. I have learned as I’ve gone along, but I still find marketing difficult. South African’s are generally not big readers and there are 11 official languages here so many people don’t read in English. I also often purchase a copy of an ebook or audiobook I like but they do take up a lot of space.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh wow 11 official languages! I don’t mind books taking up space, I regretted giving some to charity shop. But I am trying to have less physical stuff. At the sametime I don’t want to be fully dependent on e-stuff because when the Internet goes down or electricity goes – then what

        Liked by 2 people

  10. I never listen to audio books because I love to read tbe words, but if I drove long distances I can see the benefit for me. Although certain readers in my family this would be ideal.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I prefer my Kindle. I did buy one audio book back in 2017 to listen to when I was having radiotherapy, but the tomography machine was so noisy that it drowned out the narrator. Thanks for the reviews you’ve done for my audio books by the way.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I can read a traditional book a lot faster than I can listen to an audio book, so I haven’t embraced the technology yet. If I were patient, I probably would; it would let me rest my eyes. But I get anxious because I find them slow. Even if I increase the speed. Maybe someday.

    I don’t think they’ll ever replace books, but I do believe they’re here to stay. And I’ll never complain about another medium that gets literature into someone’s hands, heads, and hearts.

    Great post, Robbie.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Staci. I only listen to books that require greater focus as audiobooks. Mainly classics and fantasy or espionage books. I also read very fast but some books are better enjoyed at a slower pace. Also, I listen during dead time like housework, when I would be able to read a physical book but an audio book works well.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Having never listened to an audiobook this is an interesting post and comments…I much prefer a book in my hands..kindle is ok I just love a book…Hope your father is on the mend, Robbie 🙂 x

    Liked by 2 people

      1. So pleased to hear your father is past the worst that must be a great relief all round. Good idea about listening when you are baking I hadn’t thought of that …Thank you, Robbie 🙂 x

        Like

  14. Interesting post, Robbie. I agree, I don’t think audio books will impact on the sale of print books any more that ebooks have done. I think there’s a different audience for them. I recently commissioned a voice actor who works with a studio in Cape Town to convert ‘Song of the Sea Goddess’ into an audio book. I received the first 10 chapters at the weekend and it sounds awesome; the characters really come alive! It won’t be able to sit alongside my paperback and ebook on Amazon though as ACX is not available in South Africa (how many times do we hear that phrase?). However, there are other outlets available. Not cheap to do, about the same as the cost of a nice holiday, but we won’t be going anywhere soon!

    Hope you’re all okay up in Jo-burg. The footage I’ve seen on the TV is frightening.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. HI Chris, I also looked into ACX but my publisher was against it and pointed out all the pitfalls. I have also been reading there are issues with authors not getting their royalties from ACX. I look forward to hearing about your experience. I take it you didn’t use the royalty option for a narrator. I don’t think that option works for everyone.

      We are fine. There is no food in the shops because of panic buying but we received our monthly grocery delivery on Friday last week so we are okay for now. I am worried about the economic impact of all of this and the seeming inability of police to protect people’s property is shocking. Anyhow, South Africans are a tough bunch and are used to endless issues so onwards and upwards.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So glad you’re okay. As you say, onwards and upwards.

        I’ll be posting my ‘story of the audiobook’ when it’s out. I’m not sure how long the set up will take, but it’s just a one off payment for the finished audio file. Then it’s a DIY job for me! Interesting what you say about ACX.

        Take care.

        Like

  15. I also love audiobooks, Robbie. Though I don’t get through them as quickly as you do. I listen for about 20-30 minutes each morning so it takes weeks to get through a book. This is about the same amount of time I spend reading each of my printed and ebooks. I spent much more time researching and reading blogs on my computer. Actually, that 1 1/2 hours of ‘pleasure’ reading is about the same amount of time I spend reading blogs most days (also pleasure reading, but of a different kind).

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  16. Robbie, I enjoyed your thoughts on this topic. I like to have my mind busy when my hands are doing something… chores that don’t permit me to read. That’s when I really enjoy audio books. Audible isn’t in my budget, but I find some classics available free on YouTube, particularly Agatha Christie. Also, while it takes getting used to (the mechanical voice) I get my Kindle (or my Alexa device) to read books I’ve bought to me.
    I’ve always wanted to narrate one of my books, but have never found the time. I really wish that I could do everything faster. 😀 Hugs on the wing!

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    1. Hi Teagan, I am glad you enjoyed this post. I love audio books and they are an indulgence of mine. I just can’t listen to a poor narrator though, that flat voice distracts me too much. I would also like to record my books, but I don’t have the time now either. One day when I retire …

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  17. I listen to ordinary kindle books on my phone, Robbie. They aren’t audio books, so the narration is limited to “monotone phone voice” but I’m so used to that by now I hardly notice and can enjoy the read. I would listen to more audio books, but I read a lot of indie books that aren’t available that way. And thanks so much for including Sunwielder in your list! I was delighted to see that. Have a wonderful day and Happy Listening!

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    1. Hi Diana, I haven’t tried listening to books on my phone the way you do, but I know the monotone would annoy me. I have had some audio books I can’t listen to because of the narrator. The voice irritates me and distracts me so I can’t enjoy the sorry. I loved Sunwielder and I liked the narrator’s voice.

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