Time has become a scarce commodity in the midst of so many notifications, mobile alerts or the siege of social networks. The data is terrifying: in the worst case, a user can look at the screen of his mobile about a hundred times a day. This scenario is catastrophic when it comes to promoting reading, especially among young people: a book requires full concentration so as not to miss a single line. But what if the work in question is narrated to the reader? The phenomenon of audiobooks has experienced a marked boom in the last decade, completely revolutionizing the way of consuming literature. It is no longer necessary to cling to a book in physical or electronic format; instead, the stories take on another life through the voices of the narrators.
A narrated book offers obvious advantages, especially with the time constraints of today’s society: they allow you to perform multiple tasks at the same time, such as driving, exercising or cooking while enjoying a novel. Does this mean that the experience in our brain is equivalent? A study carried out in 2016 analyzed the reading comprehension and information retention of two groups: one reading traditional books, the other audiobooks. After reading the book, they were administered a questionnaire to measure their reading comprehension and the results revealed that there were no significant differences. It is true that reading allows you to go back occasionally to review what you have read, but audiobooks offer the advantage of transmitting emotional nuances and allow understanding through intonation, especially when it is the author himself who narrates it.
The concept of a narrated book may still sound strange, but it is a widespread phenomenon. According to the Audible Compass field work, carried out in 2022, 70% of Spaniards consume audio entertainment on a regular basis; and the most striking fact is that this figure represented an increase of 18% compared to the previous year. We don’t have time to read, but we do have time to listen: the art of literature takes on new hope (albeit in another format), considering that different book and audiobook experiences produce similar comprehension results.
And what kind of works do we like to enjoy through the ears? “The Spanish prefer mystery titles and thriller (49%) when listening to audiobooks, followed by literature and fiction (46%), science fiction and fantasy (44%), history (40%), and health and wellness (34%),” Audible sources detail. The world’s leading audiobook platform belonging to Amazon.
At what time and circumstance is a narrated book heard most often? In Spain, and according to the aforementioned study, they prefer to do it from home (61%), but it is striking that 50% choose to liven up their car trips to let themselves be moved by a narrated story. And this is where audiobooks have an advantage over a traditional book, since they allow you to perform another task while reading. read. Logically, the level of attention is lower, but this is compensated with the intonation and with a greater emotional charge than in the written word.
The main audiobook services
The first big distinction to be made in relation to audiobooks is that the user can purchase them individually or pay a flat monthly fee that allows unlimited access to a huge library. If we compare it with the cinema, the former would be like purchasing a movie (in digital or physical format), while the latter would be like a Netflix of books: with a monthly fee, you have access to an almost unlimited catalog. What pays off more, from the user’s point of view? It will depend on the number of books you are able to listen to: heavy readers will pay off subscribing to one of the services; Sometimes readers will be more tempted to purchase individually narrated works.
Audible. It was already a pioneer in the audio entertainment segment when, in 2008, Amazon acquired this service. As it happens in the music services in streaming, the platforms do not have notable differences in terms of content: there are no great literary successes that are exclusively on one of them. The fight between them is carried out in relation to the exclusive content created by each of them: Audible has a wide catalog of authors who only offer their titles exclusively on the platform. Audible declares that it has more than 90,000 titles in Spanish on the platform, all of them under the umbrella of the Amazon account. This does not mean that by paying Prime you have access to its catalog: to enjoy Audible you need to pay 9.99 euros per month, but the advantage is that there is a free trial period long enough to determine if you like it or not.
Storytel. It is the other great platform for audiobooks in Spanish, with more than 100,000 audiobooks in this language; and offers, like Audible, exclusive content from authors who only publish on that platform. This platform has come later and must compete against a well-established Audible. Perhaps for this reason it offers a subscription price somewhat lower than that of the Amazon platform: 8.99 euros per month for an equivalent catalog. But beyond the price, there are other elements to take into account to decide, such as the experience of using the apps or the ease of access to the catalogues. Storytel is at a disadvantage, on the other hand, due to Audible’s integration into Amazon’s Echo speaker ecosystem: you can ask out loud to play an Audible audiobook while cooking, for example.
We could. It is the latest contender to land on the market and has bet heavily in Spain, with the aim of taking advantage of this growing wave in terms of books listened to. Audiobooks, in short, have profoundly transformed the literary landscape, providing a comfortable and highly accessible alternative for a wide audience. Despite their drawbacks, the benefits they bring to the experience of reading they are undeniable. These audiobooks attest that regardless of format, stories remain a fundamental component of the human experience. Audiobooks can also be found on other audio platforms such as iVoox, Spotify or Google Podcast, including more special formats, such as One book, one hourof the BEING.
You can follow THE COUNTRY Technology in Facebook and Twitter or sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.
Source: EL PAIS