The History of Audio Books

 


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It's really amazing that you can get the exact value listening to an audio book while doing your normal chores as you would reading it.

Certain experts even say information sinks in more when we are not paying direct attention to them.

But when did this audio book phenomenon really start? In other words, what's the history of audio books?

From all indications, audio books look like a very recent invention, right?

WRONG!

It is very easy to make the assumption that audio books are a recent invention because of the mention of CDs, downloadable digital formats, MP3s, PDAs and other technological jargons each time audio books are discussed. But audio books started a long time ago.

To know how long audio books have been, it is pertinent to understand exactly what audio books are.

Forget about any other jargon you have heard, audio books are simply books that are recorded to be heard, instead of read.

That being the case, such recordings of books in audio formats have been around for a very long time. If you want to be specific, it is safe to say they were first introduced over half a century ago.

It could even be longer, if you include the Library of Congress recordings made especially for the American Foundation for the Blind and distributed free throughout the U. S.

However, according to Robin Whitten, the editor and founder of the only magazine which is dedicated solely to the audio book industry: Audiofile-http://www.AudioFileMagazine.com, Caedmon (now a subsidiary of Harper Collins Publishers) can be credited to have started the recordings of literature as far back as 50 years ago.

Going further, he said Caedmon was just a small company way back then in New York, which started recording the audio of great authors and poets of the 1950s. Specifically, he said one of the earliest recordings were by greats such as Dylan Thomas, T. S. Eliot, Fitzgerald and Robert Frost.

What happened then was that they were simply recorded while doing their own works and made as vinyl records.

But these early recordings can arguably pass off for the first collection of audio books ever.

However, the transition of these book recordings into audiocassette tapes didn't happen until the late 1970s up to the 1980s. From thence, it blossomed until audio books in audiocassette tapes came to be accepted by all and sundry.

For whatever reason however, the audio book phenomenon didn't really kick off until the 1990s.

And with the transition from audiocassette technology into CDs, more people have become interested in audio books.

With the advent of the Internet and its paraphernalia, audio books have now transited from vinyl records, audiocassette taps and CDs into downloadable digital formats that can be listened to with a desktop computer, laptop computer, PDAs, etc.

If you are still interested in “going back in time" you can get the original book recordings that started this audio book industry.

Impossible?

Not really.

Some of those early 1950s analog recordings by Caedmon which were performed by the greats of those days can be purchased today on the Internet.

For example, recently I was able to browse the Internet thoroughly and found the original recording of “The Lord of the Rings" as read by J. R. R. Tolken.

You can find that classic you have always dreamt of in audio book format if you search hard enough on the Internet.

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