As fantastic as reading a great book is, the unfortunate reality is that many people are too busy to find the time to sit down, relax and flip through its pages from cover to cover. However, since the MP3 audiobook craze hit in 2005, “listening” to books has become the new modus operandi for those short on leisure time. Thanks to audiobook narration, your target readers can now absorb your manuscript’s contents while walking their dog, hitting the treadmill at the gym or commuting to work.
Essentially, audiobooks allow readers to boost their productivity by doing two things at once – eliminating the sentiments of guilt surrounding losing valuable time by reading the traditional way. 37% of readers today say that they prefer listening to audiobooks, with the number increasing every year. As such, the number of audiobooks being created every year is on the rise, compared to the quantity of paperback or hardcover books being printed. However, critics are quick to judge audiobooks – saying that they fail to deliver the same benefits as printed books do, such as intellectual and emotional fulfillment. Here’s why we disagree.
Audiobooks bring a manuscript to life
Much like how books often become popularized by their movie versions, the voice actors in an audiobook can inject sparkle into a manuscript and bring it to life. Dialogue becomes more interesting with accents, intonations or particular pronunciations, drawing the reader in and making them feel like they’re part of an actual conversation. This added engagement factor can be of great benefit to readers who find themselves easily distracted while reading print books. A good voice actor will prevent an audience member’s mind from wandering, drawing them into the plot and keeping them focused. Authors can use audiobooks to add a personalized flair to their manuscript, providing voice authors with tips on how to depict a character or situation. Alternatively, if the book is a biography or features advice, the authors can narrate it themselves – lending it the ultimate personalized touch.
Reading and listening are similar cognitive processes
“Listening to an audiobook just doesn’t deliver the same intellectual benefits as reading does. If we all start listening to audiobooks, nobody will learn how to read in the future. Audiobooks enable people to take the easy way out in terms of learning”. As the owner of a self-publishing company, I hear comments like this all the time. The truth is, reading and listening have been proven to be incredibly similar cognitive processes. A study dating back to 1977 found that college students were able to summarize a short story with equal accuracy when listening to or reading it. Once we become experts at decoding letters into sound (which happens to most of us by the 5th or 6th grade), our comprehension becomes the same. In other words, listening to a book instead of reading it won’t make an audience any more or less intelligent!
Audiobooks provide readers with a wealth of benefits
As earlier mentioned, an increasing number of readers are turning to audiobooks instead of their printed counterparts due to a lack of available leisure time. The convenience of being able to listen to an audiobook while partaking in an otherwise dull task (commuting, cleaning, waiting for flights) is the medium’s single greatest marketing tool. Readers get to feel like they’re being productive while multi-tasking – a feature that just wouldn’t be possible with a printed book.
Productivity aside, audiobooks are a great option for those who are naturally slow readers. They allow your audience to take in material quicker than they normally would, further enhanced by the possibility to increase or decrease the audio recording’s speed setting. With readers around the world discovering its many benefits, the audiobook industry is a booming one – valued at 2.8 billion USD in 2016. The number of audiobooks in production had increased by 43% in August 2016 vs. August 2014, showing that the medium is showing no signs of slowing down in comparison to its traditional printed format. In fact, 20 prominent publishers recently claimed that the subscription model for audiobooks is actually proving to be more lucrative than e-books!
Interested in bringing your manuscript to life? At Happy Self Publishing, we offer audiobook narration services priced per hour of recording, which typically includes 10,000 words. Learn more here. As always, we’re available on Facebook and Twitter to answer any questions you might have.
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