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The Untold Story of the Talking Book Audiobook

The Untold Story of the Talking Book

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Publisher's Summary

Histories of the book often move straight from the codex to the digital screen. Left out of that familiar account is nearly 150 years of audio recordings. Recounting the fascinating history of audio-recorded literature, Matthew Rubery traces the path of innovation from Edison's recitation of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" for his tinfoil phonograph in 1877 to the first novel-length talking books made for blinded World War I veterans to today's billion-dollar audiobook industry.

The Untold Story of the Talking Book focuses on the social impact of audiobooks, not just the technological history, in telling a story of surprising and impassioned conflicts: from controversies over which books the Library of Congress selected to become talking books - yes to Kipling, no to Flaubert - to debates about what defines a reader. Delving into the vexed relationship between spoken and printed texts, Rubery argues that storytelling can be just as engaging with the ears as with the eyes and that audiobooks deserve to be taken seriously. They are not mere derivatives of printed books but their own form of entertainment.

We have come a long way from the era of sound recorded on wax cylinders, when people imagined one day hearing entire novels on mini phonographs tucked inside their hats. Rubery tells the untold story of this incredible evolution and, in doing so, breaks from convention by treating audiobooks as a distinctively modern art form that has profoundly influenced the way we read.

©2016 Matthew Rubery (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

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  •  
    Blake 04-16-17
    Blake 04-16-17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    142
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An In-Depth History of Audiobooks"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Untold Story of the Talking Book to be better than the print version?

    I can't read the print version.


    What other book might you compare The Untold Story of the Talking Book to and why?

    No other book is comparable in my opinion.


    What does Jim Denison bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Jim's narration enables me to focus on content more than would be possible by a non-audio format.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Appealing to the ear.


    Any additional comments?

    I agree with the author that it is important for audiobook publishers and listeners to learn about audiobook history. That goal can be accomplished by reading this book. Reading includes listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leo Saumure 01-19-17
    Leo Saumure 01-19-17 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "This book could have used some editing."

    I found the content of this book to be quite repetitive. For example, the sections which discuss how the US and the UK tackled audio books could have easily been merged into a single chapter as they both experienced similar issue.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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