For a while, Audiobooks were illegal…and more:
- The first audiobooks were called “Talking Books” and were created in the 1930s for people with visual disabilities in America and Britain. This group included war-blinded soldiers and blind civilians who couldn’t read braille.
- The first full-length talking books were on LP (long-playing) vinyl records and included the Bible, the Declaration of Independence, and Shakespeare.
- It was illegal for sighted persons to listen to LP audiobooks from 1934 until 1948, because publishers and authors’ unions controlling royalties and rights did not want them made available for public sale. They might cut into book sales!
- Libraries are still a major source of audiobooks, accounting for more than 40 percent of audiobook listening, primarily through “Books on Tape,” which is now part of Penguin Random House.
- Thousands of libraries also lend digital audiobooks through OneClickdigital, a division of Recorded Books, or the OverDrive app, which allows library patrons to download audiobooks to their devices.
- Complete, unabridged audiobooks can still require up to 15 CDs.
- Road travelers can buy a Books-On-Audio CD at Cracker Barrel restaurants. When you’re done, you return it to a Cracker Barrel at another location for a new audiobook and get a refund minus a small handling fee.
- Android and iPhone audible apps have a feature that allows you to speed up the narration to between 1.5 and 3 times normal narrating speed, something visually-impaired readers do every day.
- Roy Dotrice is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the 224 separate voices he created for the “Games of Thrones” audiobook.
- Audible invented and commercialized the first digital audio player in 1997. The device is currently in the Smithsonian.
* The above is an excerpt from “The Author’s Guide to AudioBook Creation” by Richard Rieman, now an Amazon bestseller.
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