Is Audio Really the Future of the Book?

Rebecca Rego Barry, JSTOR Daily, Nov 17, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I don't think anyone has seriously suggested that all books will be replaced by audio. It's far more plausible to suggests that all paper versions of books will be transferred to a digital format. Audio as a medium has its limitations. But it is a terrific medium to help occupy the mind while doing other things, like cooking, driving or trying to sleep. Hence the continuing popularity of radio and the recent rediscovery of podcasts. This article looks at the history of audio books - aka 'talking books' - from its origin in the 1930s. Audio books have always had their criticisms, as though they were some form of cheating. But there's also a sense in which audio is more. “Listening to authors read their own memoirs introduces an intimacy that cannot be achieved without the audio,” writes Amy Harmon.

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