The smell of books, the feel of paper and the concentration of reading are attractive that attract fewer people every time. Or, at least, that is what the latest data referring to the publishing market show, where for years there has been an Change of trend: the sale of the physical format stagnates while the new ones, such as the audiobook, grow at a rate of 22% worldwide. Little by little, the audiobooks begin to flood the literature industry.

U.S It has the largest market in the world with more than 2.5 million dollars in sales in 2017.

In the last year in UK audiobooks grew by 17%, a figure that quintupled the 3% growth of the printed book. With a perspective of the last four years, the United Kingdom has registered a 87% audiobook growth, assuming already 5% of all book purchases.

Figures in Spain

In Spain, this format is also sticking its head in the presence of editorials such as Booka, Penguin Random House, Planet or Nordic that already have titles in their catalogs in the form of an audiobook.

Storytel, since its arrival in Spain, it has more than three thousand audiobooks in its collection. Amazon already has Audible, your audiobook service. But, what are the audio books ?.

Those responsible for publishers of this type of format consider that audiobooks must be of quality. Not everything is worth it Therefore, they emphasize that an audiobook must be well narrated, structured and interpreted, among other issues.

In a way, it's like the performance of a play that requires the participation of professional speakers to be able to transmit the sensation of closeness, naturalness and intimacy.

These characteristics, which make them different from traditional production, raise another question. Can you talk about reading and readers? Is one thing the same and the other? In this regard, there are different opinions.

While some see no problem in cataloging readers who use audiobooks, others prefer to use the term «Audiolector» or «audiobook reader».

The audiobooks are capable of generating a more emotional response./ Freepik

Reading and listening: different effects on our brain

Regardless of the denomination, what does seem clear and has been demonstrated in a study is that the effects one type of reading and another have different effects on the «readers».

In this regard, Drs. Art Markman and Bob Duke of the University of Texas, indicated that the results of Reading and hearing are different.

An essential difference between audiobooks and written reading is that the first are able to generate a more emotional response to written text because it is more similar to a social experience.

In addition, audiobooks can listen together with other people at the same time, which allows sharing different reactions to the reading of text or content that is more individual.

Is one better than the other? For these two experts, none is better or worse, since the difference lies in how the brain processes information.

A parallel future

Refering to coexistence of the different book formats (paper, digital or audiobooks), the publishing industry considers that everyone can live together and they do not have to be exclusive.

In fact, they think that new formats can attract a new type of audience and discover literature through the new audio formats. In this regard, the Storytel platform offered in 2018 a piece of information in which it indicated that 50% of people who have listened to audiobooks had not read a book during the last year.

In addition, audiobooks have the advantage to be heard in situations such as when driving or practicing sports, adapting better to the different ways of life of each person.

Learning program

The Audiobooks Publishers Association (APA) has promoted the creation of Sound Learning, a literacy tool that offers resources to show the power of audiobooks and integrate them into learning programs.

In its creation, industry experts such as Mary Burkey, Sharon Grover, Liz Hannegan, and Dr. Rose Brock participated. The Web collects resources and practices to help teachers, librarians and parents discover the possibilities of audiobooks in any learning program.

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