Audiobooks now make up a third of all books consumed in Iceland

Audiobooks are all the rage in Iceland at the moment what with a third of all books consumed in the country is done in audio form, RUV reported. Author and literary scholar Halldór Guðmundsson however stated Iceland has been late in waking up to the audiobook boom but have picked up the pace ever since. From just nine audiobooks that got published in 2017, the figure rose to 168 audiobooks that got published the very next year itself.

The arrival of the Swedish audiobook platform Storytel has been a major contributing factor towards that, and the figure has since grown to 770 audiobooks published in 2020. Something similar applies to Forlagið, the biggest publisher in Iceland. Forlagið reported publishing a single audiobook in 2017 though the tally quickly rose to 192 audiobooks in 2021.

The arrival of the audiobooks has also caused a general change in the users perception about the format. So, while audiobooks were largely meant for those with visual disabilities, that isn’t the case anymore. Even the Icelandic Audio Library was previously named as the Library for the Blind and specifically served those who are unable to see and read printed stuff.

Also, as Halldór pointed out, the arrival of audiobooks has brought about a paradigm shift in the way authors write books in the first place. For there evolved a different class of authors who prefer writing books that are meant to be published in audio format only. This has led to the creation of what has come to be known as the audiobook genre.

Meanwhile, another fallout of the evolution of audiobook, and a positive one at that as well is that many of the books that have long gone out of print have started to make a comeback in audiobook form. That can be explained from the fact that publishing them as audiobooks are a lot more cost effective than putting them on print all over again. Further, given that audiobooks can be finished in just hours is also proving to be a major factor that has led many to be drawn to ‘reading’, if it can be so said.

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