Audiobooks take to the roads

·2-min read
According to the Audio Publishers Association (APA), 74% of American audiobook users reported listening in their car in 2019.

While you might think that home is the best place to enjoy an audiobook, Audible is banking on cars. The market leader recently announced a partnership with the Waze application to allow drivers and passengers to listen to audiobooks, stories and more in their vehicle.

Not so many years ago, cassette tapes and CDs were the only way for bookworms to enjoy their favorite reads in audio format while at the wheel. But, for some time now, our smartphones have taken over that role. Audible is taking the next step by joining forces with Waze, allowing its subscribers to enjoy the platform's audio catalog directly via the popular community-driven map and GPS app. This integration lets drivers and passengers listen to works by their favorite authors without having to switch from one application to another, and while continuing to receive driving instructions from Waze.

"Our users have already driven over 100 billion kilometers while listening to content from streaming services on our Audio Player, and we can't wait to bring this experience to even more users thanks to our collaboration with Audible," explains Adam Fried, head of global partnerships at Waze.

But is it really sensible to listen to a literary masterpiece while driving? Opinion is divided in the scientific community. While the dangerous effects of distraction at the wheel are all too well-known, researchers from the University of Guelph found that audiobooks could help drivers stay focused during long and boring journeys. They were also found to reduce braking time and speeding, two characteristics often found in drivers experiencing "mental underload."

The benefits of audiobooks while driving could explain why so many Americans choose this kind of content for their journeys. According to the Audio Publishers Association (APA), 74% of American audiobook users reported listening in their car in 2019. The audiobook market continues to gain ground, despite the novel coronavirus pandemic. In fact, a majority of the American population (55%) listened to one of these "talking books" in 2020.