The Audies - saluting $800 million in audiobooks!


Cortez writes "What did folks do on long trips before audiobooks - other than drink and carouse? l
Anyone with two hours and a tall glass of water can read aloud Molly's soliloquy, the unpunctuated, 24,000-word passage that concludes James Joyce's "Ulysses."

But few storytellers can really light it up, says Nicholas Soames, founder and managing director of NAXOS Audiobooks in Surrey, England. Mr. Soames chose Marcella Riordan, a stage actress who also knows her way around a microphone, to read as Molly Bloom in his company's audio version of the book.

Audiobooks represented an $800 million business in 2003, according to Mary Beth Roche, president of the Audio Publishers Association, which stages the awards. Those sales - primarily tapes and CDs sold in stores and via online retailers such as - have since grown at about 14 percent a year."


Audio books are neat, but the industry has a long way to go. The number of "publishers" for audio materials is small. And their sales don't compare to those for print--book sales in 2003 were $23 billion.

In terms of the awards, I prefer those done outside of the industry like those done by various divisions of the ALA, so I won't hold my breath until the Audies are announced tomorrow.

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