Tag Archives: audiobooks

Why listen to audiobooks?

3 May

audiobook

Having worked at AudioGO for a while now one of the most common questions I’m asked by friends about my job is ‘Why do people listen to audiobooks?’ I have to admit, this is a good question. Why would you listen to an audiobook when you could read the book or watch the film? After much deliberation and research I think I may have come up with some solid reasons why people would choose to listen rather than read or watch.

Nostalgia
According to The Observer, ‘revenue for downloaded audiobooks has risen by 32.7% since last year,’ which clearly shows a sudden thirst for listening. It seems people want to revert back to that old nostalgic tradition of reading aloud. Remember those times at school sitting on the carpet listening intently to your teacher reading the latest exciting children’s novel? It was a time to relax and drift into your own world, without the pressure of having to take everything in. Doris Julian (age 70), a lady attending a storytelling session, remarked on how hearing the story read aloud “took me right back to being a child and being read to in the library” (The Observer). We live in a technological age where we so often have to concentrate on more than one thing at the same time. The audiobook gives us the chance to relax and unwind, whilst also creating enjoyment as we carry out life’s everyday mundane tasks. Speech, of course, was the means by which stories were conveyed long before the written word came into play. We should make an effort to honour this great storytelling tradition.

You can multitask when listening to an audiobook
Audiobooks can be seen as a saviour to the modern day multitasker. In the technological world we live in we are no strangers to having to complete various tasks simultaneously. We no longer have the time to relax for a few hours with a book, as that takes up valuable time. People often listen to an audiobook because it saves time and doesn’t put a halt to the daily routine. For example, Claire posted on our Facebook page saying “I can do other things while I listen and move from room to room or even leave the house and continue with the story, which you can’t do with a book.” Further to this, people have explained how they enjoy listening to audiobooks as they carry out their daily chores. The more engrossed they are in the reading, the cleaner their house becomes! Many people have talked about how audiobooks have helped them happily complete mindless tasks, as they can switch onto autopilot and let the story take them somewhere else.

They’re great to listen to on your commute
Now that Smartphones, tablets and MP3 players are the norm, we have a way of instantly accessing audio files. We can download a book or an album at the click of a button, anywhere. It is becoming more and more common nowadays to see commuters with headphones on and a glazed expression as they block out the hubbub of the city at rush hour. In fact, it is rarer to see someone without. It is not just music people are listening to now though; there is a rise in the number of commuters listening to an audiobook as they make their way to the office. It can become a satisfying routine to listen to a chapter of a book or a podcast on each leg of the journey, until it is finished. Audiobooks also give people the chance listen to titles such as ‘The Art of Succeeding at Interviews’, or other motivational audiobooks whilst driving to an interview or an appointment, allowing extra preparation and making good use of the free time in the car.

They give more people access to books
Why listen to audiobooks?Aside from these points, audiobooks have also become a great aid to people. They give blind people access to stories they might not otherwise have had access to. For many people they are a vast improvement over Braille books and are less time consuming. Another attendee of a storytelling session was quoted in The Observer saying “I’m dyslexic, so I prefer to listen to radio plays and things like that.” They are very accessible to people with reading difficulties, which is hugely positive. Who says interpreting a book is more rewarding when you read it rather than listen to it anyway? A lot of people say how audiobooks help with their insomnia as the readings can become almost hypnotic and eventually lull them into a peaceful sleep.

Kate Doyle

AudioGO

So, what do you think? Have I missed something? Do you agree/disagree? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this. 

How I followed the flight path of the Conchords, from their original radio series to the Oscars

27 Feb

I still remember being briefed by the Comedy Editor, here at AudioGO, even though it was six years ago.

‘What’s it called?’ I asked

Flight of the Conchords,’ he said. ‘And they’re a band from New Zealand.’

‘What…?!’

He explained that we were releasing their Radio 2 series on CD and he thought it might do well. I swear he had a twinkle in his eye.

It was my job to write the blurb, and as the Conchords were new, he thought it would be a good idea to add some extra copy to the booklet as well. Keeping an open mind, I checked out the paperwork he supplied.

Flight of the Conchords had already been nominated for a Perrier Award and their new series featured Rob Brydon as narrator and included a guest appearance by Crowded House’s Neil Finn. It was also recorded on location around London and featured a Who’s Who of the Bristish stand-up circuit. So far, so good.

But, I admit, I’d never heard of Bret McKenzie, Jemaine Clement or Rhys Darby. And the main problem with working on comedy titles is that sometimes you just don’t get the comedy. At least there were listening copies of all six episodes so I’d be able to decide for myself.

I was working on around 46 titles that month. So, due to time constraints, I thought I’d have time for one – possibly two – episodes and then work out the blurb from there.

Headphones on, I joined Rob Brydon and heard the Conchords’ attempts to break into the UK’s music scene. To my credit, I realised very early on that I would have to find time to listen to the whole series…

I loved the songs, I loved the comedy – it was just the perfect blend. And I had such fun writing the text for the booklet and the blurb:

“A heated pie fight later (which included savoury missiles) and the Conchords were left as shattered as a chicken and mushroom pasty.”

“While losing a member can be very damaging at the best of times, the Conchord(s) had to go on”

To be honest, it was easy – I just wrote down the lines I heard. I also have to make a confession: I listened to some episodes more than once, just for fun. You’ll understand, once you’ve heard the pie fight…

As you’re well aware, the Conchords easily – and very successfully – made the transition to TV, creating two series for America’s HBO, and which were shown on BBC Four. They’d made the big time and I couldn’t have been happier. Our Comedy Editor was pretty chuffed too.

And now Bret McKenzie, one half of the Conchords, has won an Oscar for his original song Man or Muppet in The Muppets film. He’s come a long way since supporting a panda on stage.

As for our title, Flight of the Conchords is now one of our biggest selling titles on digital. And our Comedy Editor? Around the same time he also suggested we try publishing another new radio series. That turned out to be ‘Little Britain‘…

You can hear a clip of ‘the quirky Kiwi songsmiths’ on our website, which also lists all the songs featured on each episode. Just click the play button under the image to listen to the Conchords, who are on tour in York, being given a special pep-talk by Dan and the Panda.