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Microphone Month 3

Audiobook

This is a recording that is made primarily of “spoken word” audio rather than music. Audiobooks are available on CD, cassette tapes (yes, they’re still with us), downloads (from iTunes, for instance), and more recently, preloaded digital formats. Back when the majority of audiobooks (or “spoken-word recordings”) were on cassette, the term “books on tape” was frequently (and erroneously) used as a synonym for audiobooks in much the same way that a photocopy has long been called a “Xerox.” Books on Tape was a company that produced audiobooks on cassettes, and the name was quickly adopted by the public as the generic term for audiobooks. Today, tapes make up only a fraction of audiobook sales, with the CD accounting for the lion’s share, and downloads coming in second. In general, most audiobooks are readings (often by well-known actors and actresses) of commercially available printed material (i.e., a Stephen King novel), though audiobooks are now being widely used to teach individuals how to speak a foreign language.

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