WAMU 88.5 : The Diane Rehm Show

The Growing Popularity Of Audio Books

Audio books have come full circle. Once just for the blind, books on cassette and then CD first became available to the general public three decades ago, mostly in libraries or by subscription. Soon they popped up in bookstores, taking up a shelf or two. By the late '90s, big box stores featured whole walls of audio books. Now, in the age of digital downloads, book shelves are sparse once more. But the industry is thriving –- it’s currently estimated to be worth $1.2 billion. Many love the convenience of audio books and enjoy being read to. Critics argue listening to a narrated book is not the same as reading. Diane and her guests discuss the future of audio books.

Selected Audio Clips From The Program:

Agatha Christie’s “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” narrated by Laidman Browne (1935)

Jim Dale reading from “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”

Frank Muller reading from “The Great Gatsby”

Katherine Kellgren reading from “The Cheshire Cheese Cat”

Frank McCourt reading from his autobiography, “Angela’s Ashes”

John Gielgud reading from Shakespeare’s "A Midsummer Night's Dream”

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