For the June 2017 anniversary, Audiofile editor and founder Robin Whitten has assembled the ICONIC 25, a Hall of Fame for audiobooks, whose sales have skyrocketed and provided nearly all the growth seen in the book publishing industry in recent years. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ranks there, together with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, narrated by Stephen Fry, and the David Sedaris memoirMe Talk Pretty One Day, among others.
Earlier this year, Beyond the Book spoke with Michele Cobb, who is publisher at Audiofile and executive director of the Audio Publishers Association, about the audiobook phenomenon. She gave much of the credit to the digital revolution sweeping all media.
“When the iPod came out and Audible was growing, we started to see this huge surge of interest in audiobooks and listening to audiobooks. When we started in the industry and there were phonographs and records and all of that, you could only put so much material onto each record or onto each cassette or onto each CD,” Cobb told CCC’s Chris Kenneally.
“In a digital world, the file can be as large as you want,” she explained. “You don’t need to worry about abridging any of the materials, and you can carry an entire book with you on a small stick or on a phone or on your computer. Listeners have access to a larger amount of materials in a very easy-to-use format.”