When I was younger, as I have mentioned in previous articles I loved stories. It started with my mom reading bedtime stories to us as kids before I could read for myself. Then I remember she would get C.Ds with children stories being told. I would spend whole Saturdays just listening to the man on the radio who would tell me about the adventures and worlds of these adventurous children. That probably helped in teaching me how to read on my own to discover ‘what happened next?’
I didn’t even realize that this man on the C.D who told the story that it was an alternative to an actual book. Podcasts and Audiobooks are a prime example of how technology has changed and influenced our lives in the modern-day and age. Because of my experience with audiobooks, I don’t think of them as a substitute for age-old paperback books instead I believe they can add value to the world without subtracting from the value of reading. Here are my top reasons why listening can be incredibly beneficial.
1. Podcasts put you in control of your influences – Like it or not you are influenced greatly by what you hear. Choose to be influenced by people who are already at the level of success you want to be at. Success is contagious.
2. Podcasts can be educational – An hour or two a week over the course of a semester can add up. An hour or two driving each day to and from work or school, or work can really add up. Fill that time with educational activities that you are passionate about or interested in. Learn a little Spanish, learn about personal finance, or learn about formal dining etiquette. Learn about whatever you like but use that time to learn.
3. Podcasts cut costs. Because podcasts are delivered digitally, they eliminate many costs associated with other forms of communication including postage, printing, and paper. They can also reduce meeting costs and e-mail storage costs. They are easy to archive and updating them is quick and easy.
4. Podcasts & Audiobooks are time efficient. This is probably the biggest benefit of listening. We generally waste a lot of time doing nothing. It may not be obvious because it is in small bits but added together the time you spent waiting at the doctor’s, the hour you were sitting in a traffic jam, and those few minutes where you space out and your mind just goes blank adds up to a whole lot of ‘nothing time. No matter how brilliantly lovely it would be to live in a world where we everyone read books all the time that is fairy tale thinking. Audiobooks and Podcasts give you a way to feed your mind at any time. There are almost no restrictions. You can listen while you wash dishes, while you do your morning workout, or while you are waiting in that long checkout line. You can even make the drive to and from work/school/picking up the kids, interesting by listening to your favourite podcast or book.
Even moving on to audiobooks the digital age has opened new opportunities for audiobooks. In 2013, Deputy Features Editor at The Bookseller, Felicity Wood, explained ‘the shift to digital has had a huge impact on the publishing industry across the board, but for the audiobook market it has been completely transformative.’ A large majority of audiobooks now exist only in the digital sphere; listeners can buy audiobooks online and download or stream them to smart devices without leaving the house. Digital formats of audiobooks are cheaper to produce because companies no longer have to pay for warehousing, postage and packaging, and materials.
According to sound learning many young people with reading, writing and communication difficulties do not realize their full potential. Even if they are very bright they may have difficulty accessing the National Curriculum. This inevitably undermines their motivation and self-esteem.
Research shows that audiobooks allow the listener to retain their visualization and picture-making skills. A reader who struggles to ‘decode’ the words will have difficulty absorbing their meaning at first reading and is therefore much less likely to be able to visualise – so comprehension, memory and, of course, enjoyment, all suffer. The listener, however, has not only the advantage of being able to visualise as they listen, their understanding is also helped by the tone of voice, accent, emphasis and timing given to the text by the professional reader.
While many publishers have been distracted by the arrival of EBooks, the audiobook industry has been booming. Figures from Good e-Reader show that in 2007 just 3,073 audio titles were produced compared to over 35,000 released in 2014. Companies such as Bardowl and Audible are proof that there is a strong market for audiobooks in the digital age. These companies currently rule the audiobook market and traditional publishers have little chance of competing. Listening to audiobooks is becoming increasingly mainstream; there are no reasons to suggest that the growth in the audiobook sector will slow down in the future.
Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.