Saturday, 12 March 2011

Audio and eBooks are 'hear' to stay

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The world is changing. The sales of eBooks is increasing rapidly and according to some figures are now outselling paper back copies. The Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader have overcome the longstanding problems (to a large degree) of the readability of the screen and eye strain using a technological device as opposed to paper.
I confess to still preferring the feel of a solid block of paper in my hand to take places but the weight is a real nuisance and on holiday taking more than one or two books is nigh on impossible without incurring the risk of tipping over weight limits on baggage.
I have no complaints about reading a book digitally and there are some advantages that the book won’t be damaged and you page is instantly remembered without the fluffing around of dropping your bookmark and then re-reading half a chapter trying to find the page you were on.
Bloomsburys have for instance just reported this month that there e-book sales for last year increased 18 fold (yes you read that right). Google has launched its eBooks with over 3 million titles.
But for long car journeys listening to a good digital audio book is a pleasure (especially after listening to the news spool around endlessly). Sitting on the train or bus rather than just listening to music, an audio book can whisk you away from the crowded cabin to another imaginary world (without crowded buses and trains). I remember my step-father enjoying Talking Books especially once his sight deteriorated as he got older and he would take the tape recorder into the garden as he was turning over the vegetable plot. No doubt the neighbours enjoying the odd Agatha Christie novel as well.
Digital Audio Books for instance can cost just £3.99 for any audio book, once you have signed up. For those avid book listeners that is a bargain. 

Download an Audiobook for just £3.99!

For the next generation, will they turn more to digital books that they read or listen to, rather than the paper copies? I hope not entirely, otherwise the shelves of teenagers will be just lined with Xbox and PlayStation games. Books are a superior form of entertainment (says that ageing man in the corner of the train gripping a book…).

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