Audio books on sale at World Book Fair

PTI New Delhi | Updated on February 28, 2012

No time to read? No worries you can always ‘listen’ to your favourite book while cooking, jogging, driving or even when out buying groceries, thanks to a range of audio books that have been available in the country for some time now.

Audio versions of about hundred fiction and non-fiction books have been featured as part of the ongoing World Book fair 2012 by audio book brand Reado.

From Peter Pan to Jungle Book and subjects ranging from waistline reduction to confidence boosting, there is much to choose for “book-listeners”. The 100 titles available range from children stories, popular contemporary fiction and classics, to health, self-help and books on business.

Reado’s CEO & Co-Founder, Sumit Suneja, says the idea to bring these audio books came from the growing need to cater to that section of society which is moving in the fast lane and has very little time to read books.

“I know so many people in my life, who do not have the time in their lives to read books, but they still want to gain knowledge. People’s lifestyles have become very busy. I have been one of them. For seven years I have been bringing audio books from America and listening to them. I wanted the same luxury to be available in India and that’s when we decided to initiate a venture in audio books here,” says Suneja.

Audio books segment, that is pegged at $7 billion globally, is still in its infancy in India and has been estimated to grow. These are easily downloadable on mobile phones, MP3 players, Ipad, Iphone, Android and other tablet devices, making it a convenient experience for hi-tech book-lovers.

Audio booths available at the stall have been attracting curious visitors at the book fair. Suneja describes the response at the fair as overwhelming and added that there is a great potential for audio books in the Indian market.

“We have received stupendous response. We took a small booth but it seems we should have taken one that is three times bigger. The interest is humongous. All phones are now compatible, no additional devices are required, and your time is well spent while doing other activities. It’s the right time for audio books lifestyle,” says Suneja.

The audio books stall has been a big hit with children.

11-year-old Zenab Zaidi’s smile remains fixed as she listens to an animated voice narrating crimes and mysteries being solved by the enigmatic fictitious detective Sherlock Holmes.

“I really liked it; it’s like listening to stories like we listen to music. It was really fun,” says Zaidi.

However, these audio books have not been able to impress all.

Hyderabad-based mathematician, V. Anand Krishna, says such books would ruin children’s vocabulary and grammar.

“After book culture, it was the visual culture. Now it is the listening culture. But book culture is the best. You have to read the books and then only you will learn and improve your vocabulary. Listening is secondary, reading is primary,” says Krishna.

In order to convert the books into audio formats, Reado has partnered with several publishing houses including Penguin, Hachette, Harvard Business Review and Brilliance.

The audio books are available at prices ranging between Rs 299 and Rs 599.

Published on February 28, 2012

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