A History of Audio Book Formats
Do you have fond childhood memories of listening to your parents read you bedtime stories as you drifted off to sleep? Listening to an audio book is a lot like listening to a bedtime story. Someone else is doing the reading, and you can listen to a book while you’re driving, doing housework, preparing meals, or waiting to fall asleep – just like a bedtime story. Audio book producers record the books in several different audio book formats; one is certain to be the right format for you.
Early Audio Book Formats
The first known audio book format was made in 1933 on an aluminum disc played on a turntable, similar to a vinyl LP record album. Later, in 1952, renowned poet Dylan Thomas recorded a Christmas album of his original poetry on one side and a dramatic reading of the Christmas class, A Child’s Christmas in Wales on the flip side. This vinyl audio book format became a hit recording that made Thomas famous, and the audio book industry was born.
As musical recordings evolved from vinyl to magnetic audiotapes, audio books followed the format shift. Cassettes dominated the industry until the rise of the compact disc (CD) early 2000s, and CD audio book formats have dominated the audio book market ever since.
In the last couple years, however, music formats have again shifted, from recorded CDs to mp3 files that music lovers download online. Once again, the audio book industry is following the music industry’s lead, and the audio book in mp3 format is gaining popularity, with its on-demand availability and low cost.
Modern Audio Book Players
The CD audio book format is the most convenient format for many readers because so many cars have CD players as standard equipment. It has been reported that the number one place where people listen to audio books is in the car, to pass the time during a long commute or road trip. Until more cars are equipped with mp3 inputs, no audio book format is better suited to listening in the car than the CD audio book format.
In recent years, the playback industry has developed CD players dedicated to playing audio books. These players can play any audio book in CD format, and they offer a superior listening experience. Readers who love to listen to books are purchasing these new players, which allow them to save their place in the book with an audio bookmark and browse an audio book chapter by chapter. These miracles of technology were unheard of with previous players.