Audiobooks are a form of storytelling that have been garnering more and more attention in the publishing industry as of late.
Although publishers may be aware of the growing popularity and demand for audiobooks – publishers can sometimes struggle with the initial investment and the stiff competition for sales, especially in a market that may seem to be oversaturated, even though the audiobook market is experiencing a boom. However, there are many benefits of audiobooks that make them worth producing – some of which, you may have never thought of! Here are three great reasons why audiobooks offer opportunity for publishers now and in the future.
Audiobooks vs. Reading as a Form of Storytelling
If we look back at storytelling, it actually began as an oral tradition – the argument can be made that human brains were first adapted to absorb long, complex fiction by ear, as opposed to by eye. “Language comprehension and production evolved in connection with hearing probably 150,000 years ago and to some extent it is hard wired; whereas writing is 5,000 – 7,000 years old,” says neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran in the New Yorker. The conclusion can be made that humans are first exposed to gathering information through listening.
Thinking back to the first story we probably heard was as a child – how was that story told? It was probably read to you by a parent or teacher. Long before we are able to read and interpret text, we are exposed to the traditions of oral storytelling.
Today, audiobooks have evolved to a point where we listen to them on-the-go, whether that be in cars, or more mobile as we walk, bike, or take public transportation to work, and the benefits of audiobooks are enough of a reason to engage in this form of storytelling – if you haven’t already!
The 3 Benefits of Audiobooks
- Mental Health
We live in world that can be constantly flooded with stressors from various sources. This stress often results in negative thoughts floating around in our heads and these negative thoughts can dramatically impact the overall state of our mental health.
Audiobooks can offer a source of release from these stressors. Listening to audiobooks can quiet the inner dialogue that is causing stress and even lighten our moods (pick a humor audiobook next time you are feeling stressed and see how your mood changes!).
Listening also gives your eyes a break from reading and placing additional strain on your eyes – Americans spend an average of 10 hours a day staring at screens – so listening to an audiobook allows you to exercise one of your other senses (auditory) while giving your visual sense a much needed break. You can sit back and close your eyes while you listen to a story. The power of books to improve one’s life and mental state, has even sparked an industry called ‘bibliotherapy.’
- Audiobooks Offer Greater Accessibility
As a way to be inclusive of those with visual impairments, audiobooks offer a great solution. Text-based books often have small fonts that are hard to see for people with difficulty seeing, or even those who struggle to process visual information (e.g. dyslexic). Audiobooks are a great solution to help this group of people engage with content – whether that be as entertainment or even as a learning tool.
This alternative format for information can assist teachers in schools, where, traditionally, audiobooks have been used for second-language learners.
As the population continues to age and visual impairment hinders more of the population from reading print copy, the demand for audiobooks will increase as well.
- Audiobooks Can Enhance your Skills
Audiobooks come in a range of genres to suit every hobby and interest out there. A potential use for audiobooks is to learn another language. By listening to narration, audiences can also improve their listening and comprehension skills. What better way to learn how to speak a language than by listening to a native speaker of the language?
A benefit of reading out loud – or listening to someone read out loud – is that listeners have the ability to increase their vocabulary – words you may not know how to pronounce if you were reading the text, are pronounced for you.
Success in the Audiobook Market
Audiobooks are so successful because they offer an alternative way to consume information for those who may be visually impaired or have other accessibility issues and offers a break to those who constantly put strain on their eyes throughout the day. There are also many different options for publishing an audiobook – you can choose to publish an abridged or unabridged version of any novel. By consuming more content via audiobooks, you put less strain on your other senses, and give your mind a chance to relax. It’s safe to say that the benefits of audiobooks can only enhance certain aspects your lifestyle.