Updated 3rd March 2021
Although it appears that there has always been Audio books, have you ever thought about who it was that invented them, plus why and how it happened. There was a time though when there were no audio books, so let me introduce you to my history on audio books.
History of the Audio Book
The audio book or talking book first became an idea in the 1920’s which originated in the UK when the RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) decided to test different ways to produce talking books. They investigated the use of using long-playing records being a viable means of making a spoken-word novel. However, in the 1930’s in America that a project arose called “Books for the Adult Blind” and through this the introduction of the first talking book appeared in 1934. This included excerpts from The Bible as well as Helen Keller and O. Henry.
The RNIB first delivered their first talking books to the blind and partially sighted people in the UK on November 7th, 1935 and the first recordings were by Joseph Conrad and Agatha Christie. The Agatha Christie book was “The murder of Roger Ackroyd” and “Typhoon” was the book from Joseph Conrad. These were both recorded onto LP records which both lasted 25 minutes on each side. Most of the books took up to at least 10 or more books and had to be played on a gramophone.
From Gramophone Discs to Tape
The magnetic tape was seen to be a good replacement for the gramophone discs in 1949 and then in 1960 there was the introduction of a new “talking book player”. In the UK, the RNIB distributed on tape its spoken word books. It was somewhat tricky for people who were blind as the open reels needed to be loaded as well as being threaded manually. They were bulky and heavy which meant that they had to be delivered separately from all the other post and also they had to be returned to the post office in person.
In 1969, the United States saw a real breakthrough, as the National Library Service for the Blind and physically handicapped started making talking books using audio cassette tapes which were more compact, lightweight and easier to produce and use. The audio cassette very quickly became the media choice for using talking books and stayed like that until the start of the 1980’s when the compact disc was introduced.
The public libraries in the UK and USA started filling their shelves with the talking books as publishers were releasing both hardback and spoken word versions of books at the same time.
CD to Download
The 90’s saw the compact disc version of the audio book became very popular. Near enough all the best sellers written have also become an audio book and are abridged versions otherwise they would use up too CD’s if they were unabridged.
The arrival of the internet changed the way that people used to listen to both music and audio books. As both music and audio books could now be downloaded, listening to them was made so much easier. This resulted in the growing demand for high-quality material and as audio books read word-for-word in their original unabridged format, it was now possible with a handful of mouse clicks, you could be listening to your favourite classic literature being read to you by your favourite actor.
As it is popular to download audio books, people of all ages can now do it. Low price Mp3 players have been good as you can download a lot of books on to them. This is certainly a far cry from when it was the days of using clunky and heavy tape machines or gramophones.
Places You Can Get Audio Books
There are lots of different places you can go to get audio books. You can go to bookstores such as Waterstones who have a good supply of them or you can go online here and have a look at what they have to offer.
There was a VoiceView Audio Adapter created by Amazon, so that people who have a Kindle Paperwhite are now able to listen to audio books. There is also access to a large catalogue of both audio books and eBooks that you can download onto the kindle. If you are interested to see what audio books are available, then simply just click on the button below.
There are plenty of online sites you can use to get audio books. There is always the option to buy or download free versions. There are sites who will give you a free trial for 30 days, but you will then have to join their site. Loyal Books is an excellent site to use for your free books and you do not have to join anything. There is access to over 7000 books for both adults and children, as well as having access to books that are in different languages.
It looks like the future of audio books will still be at the forefront of the next generation of readers. Audio books will still be available for downloading and book lovers will continue to enjoy great performances from actors and actresses who are award winners.
Unfortunately, I am not a lover of audio books, however I do I think they are a great invention for people who are blind or partially sighted. For children learning to read and anyone who have difficulty with reading. Audio books are also a good idea for elderly people who enjoy reading but are maybe not able to hold a book anymore. In fact, they are a great way of enjoying books whatever age you are.
If you have any comments or feedback, please leave them in the comment section at the bottom or contact me at WealthyAffiliate.com.