We all remember the pleasure of sitting next to our grandparents, listening to stories night after night. Indian culture has a very strong affiliation to storytelling. And audio books bring back the familiar feeling of listening to stories.
An audio book as one might be able to guess is a professional narration of the book. The text of the book is kept intact, and the only difference is the delivery of the contents of the book. Audio books are typically narrated by professional voice-over artists, actors, or sometimes by the authors themselves. The narration of the book depends upon the genre.
Audio books were initially introduced to enable the visually impaired to ‘read’. With time, the benefits of audio books as a mass market product were identified, and soon, we began to see audio books in Audio Cassettes and CD formats. However, it wasn’t until the digital revolution hit the publishing industry that audio books really came to the forefront. With print publishing taking a hit from E-Books, audio books blossomed because of the ease of delivery. Today, more than 80% of the audio books consumed worldwide are directly downloaded from websites and read on smart phones.
Reado has been a pioneer to introduce audio books to the Indian consumer and has been at the forefront not only in getting maximum possible titles, but also in the quality and choice of books. It was founded by Sumit and Siddharth Suneja with a vision to bring best selling audio books from around the globe to India, and publish domestic books in audio format.
In this endeavor they have joined hands with major publishers like Penguin, Hachette, Simon and Schuster, Harper Collins, Scholastic and many more. Along with international content they have also been successful in publishing top Indian books in audio, and as a result, today, the consumers have a choice of audio books from bestselling authors like Amish, Chetan Bhagat, APJ Abdul Kalam, Prakash Iyer, Harsha Bhogle and many others. The audio books are available as digital downloads on Reado’s website, and the audio books seamlessly integrate with the simplest of devices with audio playing capabilities.
The global audio books market is worth about $ 7 Billion. In India, though it is in a nascent stage, it has seen a 300% growth in the last few years. There are two factors driving the growth here. First, audio books are primarily read during commute and India has one of the highest daily travel times in the world* (Payscale Study). With people looking at other forms of entertainment during this beyond radio, audio books provide a solution which not only entertains them, but also provides an opportunity to learn. Along with that, the spread of smart phones have also fueled the growth and reach of audio books. Today, you don’t need a separate device to play your audio books, and effectively, everybody moves around with an MP3 player that can play audio files, in their pocket.
Consumers can now listen to their favorite bestsellers as and when they choose. They never have to put the book down. They can listen while driving, while exercising, while waiting to board a plane, or whenever they feel like.
Currently, Reado primarily offers audio books in the English language; however, very soon they plan to bring out audio books in vernacular languages also. There first foray into the regional languages space will be Sochiye aur Ameer Baniye (Think and Grow Rich) by Napolean Hill.