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Time to read: Exploring the timespaces of subscription-based audiobooks
University of Borås, Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1813-8046
University of Borås, Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9228-9179
(English)In: New Media and Society, ISSN 1461-4448, E-ISSN 1461-7315Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

With remediation of the printed book into audiobook subscription services, reading by listening is becoming a popular alternative to reading by seeing. This article explores when people read by listening and whether there may be a shift regarding the places and times people read by listening rather than by seeing. Based on a considerable dataset from a Swedish subscription service for digital books, this article reveals that audiobook reading takes place at somewhat different times than expected and that subscribers read significant amounts each day. The findings indicate that the remediation into reading by listening using digital audiobooks may close the gender gap common in reading, as the reading practices of men and women are very similar, with men even reading slightly more than women. The reading practices of young adults are also similar to the larger population. Furthermore, the concepts stationary reading, mobile reading and stationary/mobile reading are introduced.

Keywords [en]
Audiobooks, reading, time, temporality, subscription service
Keywords [sv]
Ljudböcker, läsning, tid, temporaitet, prenumerationstjänster
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Information Studies
Research subject
Library and Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-21524DOI: 10.1177/1461444819864691ISI: 000477388700001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85070364469OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-21524DiVA, id: diva2:1340673
Available from: 2019-08-06 Created: 2019-08-06 Last updated: 2022-01-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. SOUND READING: Exploring and conceptualising audiobook practices among young adults
Open this publication in new window or tab >>SOUND READING: Exploring and conceptualising audiobook practices among young adults
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Audiobooks and subscription services are becoming increasingly popular in Sweden as well as many other parts of the world. This compilation thesis develops knowledge and conceptualisations of audiobook reading practices in the context of subscription services and apps. This is carried out by exploring audiobook use among young people, with a particular emphasis on the temporal and spatial aspects of the practices and the tools used. The context of the thesis is Sweden, with subscription services and users in the country. The thesis takes an explorative approach, where several theories and research methods are operationalised in four different articles. Schatzki's practice theory forms a foundation for the thesis, with the theory of timespace applied to consider temporal and spatial aspects of activities. Furthermore, the theories of remediation and affordances have been included to examine the digital technology related to contemporary audiobooks. Different aspects of audiobook practices have been explored; firstly, with temporal transaction logs collected from a subscription service. Secondly, semistructured interviews with ten young audiobook users, and thirdly, an app feature analysis focusing on the player function in three audiobook apps. As such, the approaches are both qualitative and quantitative, and digital methods are employed together with more traditional research methods in virtual forms.

The transaction log study reveals that the average subscription-service user listens to audiobooks for a considerable amount of time every day. There also appears to be a correlation between audiobook listening and the work or school day, with more audiobook use carried out during daytime on weekdays, but also at bedtime. The analysis of the interview study highlights that audiobook reading practices have become part of users' everyday routines, and listening is closely interwoven with other daily activities. For young people, audiobooks are combined with commutes, schoolwork, chores, exercise and leisure activities. Listening has become routine for specific purposes, such as improving the enjoyment of another task, increasing reading time or supporting the user's wellbeing. Audiobook apps play a significant role in contemporary audiobook practices. The app feature analysis explores features in the player function of three subscription service apps and has found that some features make certain reading practices easier, while others create hindrances for users. Some app features are used for adjusting time, such as changing the speed of the book, setting a sleep timer or rewinding the audiobook when the user has lost focus. Moreover, some users alternate between the printed and audio version of a book title, and when possible, then use a feature for selecting the track to switch between formats. Finally, the thesis also contributes by developing and clarifying concepts relating to audiobooks, subscription services and reading. For example, the concepts of reading by listening, mobile reading and stationary reading are introduced here to highlight the specificity of different reading practices. Furthermore, the business models of subscription services have been conceptualised as following either a library model or bookshop model. Research on digital and subscription- based audiobooks is still in its initial stages. An ambition with this PhD thesis is to contribute with new knowledge and lay some conceptual groundwork relating to this topic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Borås: Högskolan i Borås, 2022
Series
Skrifter från Valfrid, ISSN 1103-6990 ; 73
Keywords
audiobooks, reading practices, subscription services, apps, practice theory, timespace, transaction logs, interviews, digital methods, young adults
National Category
Information Studies
Research subject
Library and Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-27165 (URN)978-91-983397-5-8 (ISBN)978-91-983397-4-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-03-25, C203, Högskolan i Borås, Allégatan 1, Borås, 13:00 (English)
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-03-04 Created: 2022-01-11 Last updated: 2023-01-04Bibliographically approved

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Tattersall Wallin, ElisaNolin, Jan

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