From cave paintings to novels and film, as long as we’ve existed, storytelling has existed. It’s one of the most important traditions we possess, and in today’s technology-focused world, the ancient art form is finding a new voice.
Audiobook sales have surged by more than 40% in the UK and the global market is predicted to boom to almost £4 billion in 2020. The success is down to convenience, intimacy, curiosity and celebrity – and there are a host of new storytellers in town.
A world where you can read anywhere at any time is no longer a distant fantasy. The ever-convenient audiobook is always on the top shelf. We no longer need an easy read – an easy listen is effortless, and an audio companion makes for a perfect commuting partner who won’t read over your shoulder.
Audiobooks capture the intimacy of storytelling with a familiarity which takes us back to our childhood. The pauses, the silence and the tone all add an open-book and immersive dimension to the experience. We embrace new ideas, narratives and experiences, and the audiobook encompasses all three to redefine a reading relationship with its audience. Stories themselves are impactful, emotional and memorable – but engagement levels are heightened even further when read aloud. We’re curious by nature, but with audiobooks, we’re immersed in a new kind of narration.
Telling a story that people actually want to read is no longer good enough. Now, stories need to be told so the audience listens up and takes note. At its heart, storytelling is an art form, so it’s perhaps no surprise audiobooks have taken a trip to Hollywood to capture the best in the business.
On paper, Johnny Depp narrating Keith Richards’ autobiography ‘Life’ may sound like a piece of farfetched fiction, but take a look behind the scenes to the world of audio, and you’ll find the pairing has prompted a surprising success story. More and more stars are lining up to give voice to their favourite novels: the UK’s leading audiobook retailer, Audible, has put pen to paper with the likes of Kate Winslet, Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. 2019 success stories include Stephen Fry’s ‘Victorian Secrets’, ‘Becoming Michelle Obama’ and Mark Haddon’s narration of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ – all very different books, all sparking an equal immersive and emotional experience for the listener. The A-list stars are able to add the extra dimension of drama, and when you have a good reader, you retain more, gain stronger sense memories and are fully immersed in the tone.
Audio stories stay with you to evoke an unrivalled emotional response – and when these stories are attached to a brand, they come to embody your business identity. The story you tell and how you tell it motivates people to believe and buy into your business. And these brands inspire lasting relationships, one story at a time.