The technical development of the recording media for audio books has speeded up tremendously. Whereas initially audio books were pressed on LP's, today they are simple digital files that can be downloaded from the internet. Here's the detailed story:
Audio books are a great way to use 'empty' time. Load an audio book into your MP3 player or iPod - you can find audio books for just about any interest, from novels to business books and audio books about self-improvement to even the bible or the coran. You can find them 24 hours a day, just by clicking a few buttons on your computer and an internet shop delivers the contents for your iPod or MP3 player conveniently to you.
Even if they have only become very popular again recently, the concept of audio books goes back about eighty years! Initially books on tape or on LP's were produced for the blind. Here's a short look back in history:
Already in the 1920's, the Royal National Institute for the Blind in England (RNIB) initiate research to find the best way to produce audio books for blind soldiers that were the result of the World War I battles. They finally decide to produce audio books on LP's and the first ones were made in 1926. To play them they were put on the old fashioned LP players that had to be cranked by hand and delivered the sound through the big horn. This was a great development for the blind, but was hardly used by normal consumers. So these audio books from RNIB remained a niche product and never reached the masses.
The concept was successful and in 1936 the Royal National Institute for the Blind launched the 'Talking Book Service'. The first two books they produced were:'The murder of Roger Ackroyd' (Agatha Christie) and 'Thyphoon' (Joseph Conrad). Because the records could only hold 25 minutes of spoken text, an average audio book had to be recorded on an average of ten records.
During WWII, the studio used by the RNIB was bombed, and one month later a replacement studio was bombed as well, destroying much needed equipment to continue the production. The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), who had started to produce audio books in the USA sent replacement parts and equipment to London so that the production could be taken up again.
The old fashioned LP's were replaced by modern LP's and finally cassettes, making listening to audio books more convenient. Sony's Walkman made it possible to take your audio book with you and listen on the go. This is when audio books started to be bought by the general consumers. The next step was to produce these listening books on CD, making them even more convenient.
Over the last few years the audio book technology has made a quantum leap: Digital MP3 files can be packed onto a player that weighs only a few grams and runs on a set of batteries for many hours. The most popular player is without doubt the Apple iPod, but there are many other MP3 players on the market that have helped to make listening to content on the go very popular.
Finding an audio book is as easy as typing an address into your internet browser, consulting the catalog of the audio book shop and then downloading your audio book within minutes. No more need to visit your local library or book shop. If you want to shop at 3 am - no problem, the shop is open 24 hours!
One shop that offers a wide variety of audio books is the AudioBooksCorner Store. High quality audio books from publishers like BBC, Hachette and many others cover a wide variety of topics. Best selling authors offer their books as audio books and the well known foreign language courses by Pimsleur are available for download too.
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