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Introducing Vertebrate Audio: Making Adventures Heard

Thursday, 1 November 2018

We’re excited to announce that as well as providing our books in hardback, paperback and eBook formats, we will now be offering audiobook versions of select titles.

The first audiobook to publish will be Steve Birkinshaw’s There is no Map in Hell, the remarkable story of one man’s triumph in running the continuous circuit of all 214 Wainwright fells – over 300 miles – in a staggering new record: six days and thirteen hours. With a foreword by legendary fell runner Joss Naylor, There is no Map in Hell recounts Birkinshaw’s preparation, training and mile-by-mile experience of the extraordinary and sometimes hellish demands he made of his mind and body, and the physiological aftermath of such a feat. 

To celebrate this addition to our digital library, our Digital Assets Editor Sarah takes a look at what makes audio so appealing …

I remember the first time I tried an audiobook – it came after months of friends’ and family’s recommendations – telling me that my commute would be ‘revolutionised’. As a frequent traveller, I was already comfortable and accustomed to using my compact Kindle e-reader, but keen to try something new I downloaded from audible and plugged my headphones in. 

It has been a real positive experience. Here’s what audio does for me:

The ‘immerseability’ factor

Ever heard the phrase ‘Headphones in. World out’? This really rings true here – listening to a book makes it so much easier to get drawn into the story. I feel less open to distractions and the escapism benefit of reading – that I usually only achieve at home – is readily felt anywhere I am, even on busy public transport.

Audio appeals to an innate desire: storytelling

The art of telling and listening to a story is the oldest tradition – thousands of years before we were writing stories down and reading them. There is almost an innate comfort of being told a story, and hearing this story from a professional actor makes the experience not only more vivid, but arguably more entertaining, realistic and exciting.

Do more on the go with audio

It’s not just on the bus or the train that I find myself tuning into my audiobook – I can listen anywhere: no more putting the book down just because I have to cook, go for a run or wrap Christmas presents! What’s more, those who drive will get a real kick out of switching to audio … long roadtrips will be transformed! Linked to this, audible reading allows you to manage your time better with the option to multitask – something I think many of us, with our hectic schedules, can benefit from. You’ll never say you wish you had the time to read again.

Give your eyes a break!

One of the most significant advantages that I have seen from using audiobooks over e-readers or physical books is the benefit to my eyes. I spend most of my day looking at a screen – whether it’s the computer at work or staring at my phone whilst I wait for the bus, I can never seem to escape it. I also spend the majority of my day, as an editor, reading on screen. What this often means is that despite wanting to pick up a book of my choice and binge it at the end of the day, my eyes are just too exhausted. Or, I do it anyway and pay for it with an eye-strain headache! With a world that revolves around screens, audiobooks provide a very welcome relief; since making the switch to audiobooks I have read twice as much in my own time as I did before!

The more the merrier: Make reading a social experience

I’ve always loved reading – but it can be quite isolating. Don’t get me wrong, this is what I usually love about the activity of reading – some well-deserved ‘me time’ and escapism from everyday stresses. However, sometimes I want to read with others – a great example of this is when a friend and I are both obsessed with the same book series, I often think wouldn’t it be great to read together? Practical reasons make this near-impossible with a written book – unless you are prepared to take in turns reading aloud and are gifted with the same reading speed. Audio once again solves this problem – listening to a book together can be great fun and, as previously mentioned, very entertaining due to the high quality voice actors that narrate with captivating enthusiasm and expression.

Sound good? Keep an ear out as we’ll be announcing more audiobook news very soon!


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