Aside from their obvious convenience, audiobooks have established themselves as a hybrid between literary and media entertainment. Listeners are drawn in by hypnotic and dynamic narrations often delivered by well-known celebrities. Because of this focus on vocal value, publishing houses like Penguin Random House invested in their audio department to further advance audiobook quality. They even have the option to include material not present in the original print versions or let narrators go “off script.” Whether audiences know a story or not, listening to it gives them a fresh perspective.
As with ebooks, two of the biggest players in the audiobook world are Amazon (owner of the subscription-based service Audible) and Apple, whose digital iTunes store provides an extensive distribution platform. In the global market, Amazon and Apple had an exclusive audiobook deal dating back to before Amazon had even acquired Audible in 2008. The deal was that Apple would only be able to stock audiobooks from Audible in the iTunes store, and Audible could only supply their audiobooks to Apple’s iTunes store.