Are audiobooks responsible for a return to an “oral tradition,” due to the “unbridled power of the spoken word” and our evolving culture of multi-tasking? Or, as a narrator, am I simply paying more attention to the industry than before? I think the numbers speak volumes. The audiobook boom is a thing.
“…Despite the forces fostering the audio-storytelling boom, Susan Shipley of Dorchester, who often listens while she knits, sees the rise more as a return than a digital-age innovation.
‘Storytelling was originally an oral tradition,’ Shipley said. ‘When the scribes came along, I imagine the bards thought that was really new.’
D’Acierno of Penguin Random House Audio said she thinks the boom is pretty easy to explain. She believes that there is something natural in the attraction.
‘All of us love to hear stories,’ she said. ‘This is a way to get in touch with that again.’
Source: Interest in audiobooks rockets, along with other digital storytelling – The Boston Globe
via Global Audiobook Trends and Statistics for 2016
A thorough and detailed December, 2015 article by Michael Kozlowski on Goodereader.com shares the continuing and dynamic growth and expansion of the Audiobook industry into 2016 and beyond. New players in the industry, new platforms, expanding technologies, new markets and distribution models, greater competition, impressive statistics, increasing demand for narrators, and in particular, (deep breath) reviewers. “There simply are not a lot of review websites that specialize in letting you know what new ones are worth listening to and what classics have been done by really good narrators. The average customer only knows what the front-page of Audible says is good or their local library. There needs to be significant investment in helping people discover great new content and blacklist titles.” Growth and opportunity for reviewers and bloggers, not to mention the increasing demand for great narration. Grab a cup and have some encouragement along with it.
At the time of this posting, the audiobook version of Omari and the People by Stephen Whitfield, which I narrate, has yet to be released. It will be coming out in a few days and both the author and I still struggle over the genre. That, in fact, is one of the things I love most about Stephen’s genre-bending work, i.e. the question of Fiction or Fantasy is at play for the reader/listener at the heart of the story. However, at this point, I’m not absolutely certain but I think Stephen and I agree that Omari is Magical Realism, a branch of Fiction. Of course, some will disagree with that as well as whether Magical Realism is a branch of Fiction. I like the position taken by Bruce Holland Rogers on Writing-World.com. What is Magical Realism, Really? “Magical realism is not speculative and does not conduct thought experiments. Instead, it tells its stories from the perspective of people who live in our world and experience a different reality from the one we call objective… Magical realist fiction depicts the real world of people whose reality is different from ours… Magical realism leaves you with… the feeling that maybe this view is correct.” It will be interesting to see in which genre Audible decides to place Omari and the People, the audiobook.