Heard Any Good Books Lately? An Industry Booms

Detail of Cover of 'Dylan Thomas'

The Dylan Thomas Caedmon Collection captures the range of the Welsh writer's career. hide caption

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Detail of Cover of 'Dragon Rider'

Dragon Rider pairs a popular children's writer, Cornelia Funke, with the actor Brendan Fraser. hide caption

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Audio Book Samples

Listen: Simon Prebble reads from <i>Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell</i> by Susanna Clarke

Listen: Brendan Fraser reads from <i>Dragon Rider</i> by Cornelia Funke

Listen: Dylan Thomas reads from his short story "A Visit to Grandpa's"

Listen: Bill Clinton reads from his memoir, <i>My Life</i>

Audio book sales are increasing at a double-digit rate, according to the Audio Publishers Association. As Lynn Neary reports, popular books like the Harry Potter series have done well — and expanded consumer awareness of audio books in the process.

And the future is beckoning. The industry is hoping to lure more fans with popular narrators and celebrity readers, CDs with special DVD-like features and books that can be downloaded to computers and digital players.

The audio book industry has grown steadily since the mid-1980s, when major publishing houses began recording some of their biggest new titles. Just last month, audio book publishers reported a 14 perent increase in sales between 2001 and 2003.

Another development may represent the future of audio books: digital downloading. Audible. com, the biggest provider of audio books online, reported an increase in sales from 5.1 million in 2001 to 18.4 in 2003.

Books Featured In This Story

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

by Susanna Clarke

CD/Spoken Word, 26 sound discs (32 hr.) | purchase

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Title
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Author
Susanna Clarke

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Dragon Rider

by Cornelia Caroline Funke and Anthea Bell

Cassette/Spoken Word, 7 sound cassettes (11 hr.) | purchase

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Title
Dragon Rider
Author
Cornelia Caroline Funke and Anthea Bell

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Dylan Thomas

The Caedmon Collection

by Dylan Thomas and Billy Collins

CD/Spoken Word | purchase

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Title
Dylan Thomas
Subtitle
The Caedmon Collection
Author
Dylan Thomas and Billy Collins

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