INCREASING POPULARITY OF AUDIOBOOKS AND PODCASTS-


Audiobooks have taken several forms over the years, most notably from a physical product purchased at a store to a digital downloadable code on your smartphone, but have never been as favored as the hardcover format. Since print books were much easier and less expensive to create at the time audiobooks were recorded for the phonograph in the late 1800s, the audiobook industry was not as successful as the print books due to availability and convenience.

Audiobooks and podcasts have gained popularity in the last three years and it looks like the pandemic-induced lockdown has only increased people’s appetite for audiobooks. It helped them to get a personalized audio experience anytime and anyplace.


THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY


According to a report in Publishers weekly.com, some of the world’s major publishers have invested millions of dollars to set up audiobook recording studios and sign up voice over narrators to speed up production. This has led to an 18% increase in the number of new audiobook titles that have been released


"As per industry estimates, audiobooks likely to experience over 25% growth till 2027. The ease-of-accessibility for physically abled and non-English speaking groups are fostering growth"


WHY PEOPLE PREFER AUDIOBOOKS AND PODCASTS -


The pandemic resulted in bookstores being closed for more than three months in many countries, so people switched to audiobooks to keep their interest in reading alive. Although many bookstores opened later, thousands across the world remained closed. In order to ensure that people remained glued to reading, major retailers and publishers gave away free content, to get even more people turned onto digital audiobooks.


One important factor that has contributed to the rise in audiobook sales is the increasing localization option which allows for translating/dubbing an audiobook into several languages.

Here are a few reasons why people are moving toward audiobooks over printed versions:


Good for Mental Health

According to a report by the Audiobook Publishers Association and Edison Research, over 73% of audiobook users say that listening to audiobooks is relaxing and about 55% of them said that they listen to an audiobook when they want some time for themselves. Both these numbers are pretty huge.


Get More Time to Read

Although there’s not much difference between reading an actual book versus listening to a book, audiobooks help people squeeze more reading into their daily lives. Now imagine one listening to a book through a smartphone or smart speaker while doing other chores like going for a small walk or running errands or even picking up groceries. It also helps them finish a book much faster and pick up another book quicker for reading.


Vernacular appeal

Podcasts in India are striving to launch in all languages so that the message can be heard far and near. These multilingual podcasts will then not only be available in India but also throughout the world. Indians living abroad can stay connected to their roots and feel at home by listening to their favorite podcast. Due to this diversity in Indian podcasts, it is easy for anyone to gain access. Users can engage with their favorite brands and get the latest updates via brand podcasts recorded in their native language.


Easy-to-use technology

Starting a podcast is not as complicated as it may seem. Podcasts are available and compatible with android and iOS phones. To start a podcast, one must have unique content to present, the right equipment, and consistency. Podcasts must be user friendly and meet the demands of the market. To start a podcast, you will need a microphone and an audio editor. The audio content must be up-to-date.


Monetization

Monetizing a podcast is very simple. As long as you have regular and non-plagiarized content, users will follow. The paid content paid subscriptions, advertisements, paid promotions and sponsors are some of the ways one can earn through a podcast. Since podcasts are a booming trend in India, many businesses look to advertise their products through new mediums. The younger generation likes always to stay a step ahead in trending matters, and podcasts are the quickest way to do so. Users would willingly subscribe to podcasts that benefit them and also be a part of the paid promotions.





THE FUTURE OF AUDIOBOOKS AND PODCASTS -


The upsurge in people’s interest in digital storytelling shows that the time for audiobooks has come and as they soar in popularity, they are also becoming technologically advanced. Here’s how the future of audiobooks looks like:

1. Audiobooks without narrators

We have all heard about autonomous cars but how about narrator-less books? While we still see professional artists or authors reading the books, the day is not far when artificial intelligence (AI) will take over and read the entire book. As AI technology improves, publishers will mass-produce audiobooks resulting in faster time to market and cheaper audiobooks. Today we are at a point where we can distinguish between a human and a computerized voice, but the audiobooks of the future will be as close and real to the human voice as they can get with improving technology.

2. Rising Competition

Audiobooks are not competing with printed books or e-books, they are competing with music streaming apps, TV stations, youtube, podcasts, and more. With the convenience offered by Bluetooth hands-free devices, listening is on the rise, so audiobooks will have to compete with channels and apps.

3. Engaging Content

Listening to one thing continuously can become boring and monotonous. In order to ensure people don’t feel bored or find a reason to ditch their audiobooks, publishers might get creative and introduce engaging content. With the help of AI, you might also get the voice emulation of your favorite actor or even your parents who will read the book for you.

4. Language Translation

A major part of the world doesn’t speak English and similarly, most people in the world are at best bilingual, which means an audiobook published in English or any other bestseller in other languages will be out of bounds for them. Future technology will allow audiobooks to be translated to other languages with ease.




CONCLUSION -

Audiobooks and podcasts are a great way for people to be entertained and get information on the go. Most people juggling work and family find it hard to fit reading into their busy schedules, however, audiobooks make that simple. The world’s top tech companies like Google, Amazon, and large publishers are moving toward the audiobook business as the industry is growing at a fast pace and clocking in billions of dollars in downloads.




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