Now listen to your favourite book

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 and 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 to read books but they still want to gain knowledge. I am one of those people who are very busy. 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.

The audio book industry, that is pegged at USD 7 billion globally is still in its infant stage in India and is estimated to grow. They are also 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.

The stall has 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 humungous. 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 as well. Zenab Zaidi’s smile remains fixed as she listens to an animated voice that narrates the adventures of enigmatic fictitious detective Sherlock Holmes.

“I really liked it; it’s like listening to stories instead of music. It was really fun,” says Zaidi, 11.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.

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