The Growing Popularity Of Audio Books

The Growing Popularity Of Audio Books

Audio books are on the rise. Some love their convenience and enjoy being read to, others say listening to a narrated book is not the same as reading. Diane and her guests discuss implications of a coming audio book boom.

Audio books have come full circle. Once just for the blind, books on cassette and then CD first became available to the general public three decades ago, mostly in libraries or by subscription. Soon they popped up in bookstores, taking up a shelf or two. By the late '90s, big box stores featured whole walls of audio books. Now, in the age of digital downloads, book shelves are sparse once more. But the industry is thriving –- it’s currently estimated to be worth $1.2 billion. Many love the convenience of audio books and enjoy being read to. Critics argue listening to a narrated book is not the same as reading. Diane and her guests discuss the future of audio books.

Guests

Michele Cobb

president of Audio Publishers Association and vice president of sales & marketing at AudioGO.

Peter Osnos

founder and editor-at-large of Public Affairs Books and media fellow at The Century Foundation.

John Schwartz

national correspondent for The New York Times. He writes an occasional article for The Times on the audio book industry and recently narrated his memoir, "Oddly Normal."

Katherine Kellgren

award-winning audio book narrator.

Selected Audio Clips From The Program:

Agatha Christie’s “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” narrated by Laidman Browne (1935)

Jim Dale reading from “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”

Frank Muller reading from “The Great Gatsby”

Katherine Kellgren reading from “The Cheshire Cheese Cat”

Frank McCourt reading from his autobiography, “Angela’s Ashes”

John Gielgud reading from Shakespeare’s "A Midsummer Night's Dream”

Please familiarize yourself with our Code of Conduct and Terms of Use before posting your comments.

Our address has changed!

The Diane Rehm Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.