Sonic mediatization of the book: affordances of the audiobook
This article addresses cultural changes resulting from the growing number of audiobook users and changes in audiobook use emerging from digital technological developments of the past decade. The sonification of the written text is inscribed in the general transformation and mediatization of the printed book but offers radically different affordances than do visually perceived e-books. New portable digital audio media change the act of reading, moving it towards fields of practice in which reading has not been common before: the gym, the bicycle ride, gardening, resting in the dark, etc. From being a medium typically associated with children, the visually handicapped, or the dyslexic, the audiobook has developed into a popular phenomenon, which, we argue, has as much in common with other kinds of mediated mobile listening practices, like music and radio listening, as it has with the reading of printed books. Taking an inductive approach from the micro-level of the individual’s use, the term affordances will be used as a methodological tool within the concept of mediatization.
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