An Unexpected Alliance: Podcasts & Literature

Reading is difficult, there is no doubt about that. Technology has graced the busiest of us with audio books. While not loved by all, audio books are good because you can listen to them on your way to work, at the gym, etc. But what about the reader who has no time to read and does not want to resort to listening to literature? The solution lies in the vastly growing world of literary podcasting!

Podcasting this year has seen the largest increase in growth since 2008. According to Jay Baer, “President of Convince & Convert, a keynote speaker, a podcaster, and the author of five books”, monthly podcast listening has gone up from 17% of Americans saying they have consumed one or more podcasts in a month to 21%. To put this in perspective, based on the same metrics, only about 21% of Americans are using their Twitter account more than a few times a month. Therefore the amount of activity in the podcasting world and Twitter are about the same.  

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Regular podcast listeners are consuming about 5 shows per week! Considering that podcasting allows for more long-form discussions, the amount of time spent listening could be multiple hours a week. This is great news for the literary world because books are already a large part of the podcasting phenomenon.

A great example of how podcasting is revitalizing literature is a show called Selected Shorts. The show features voice actors who read short stories word for word, usually done in front of a live audience. Basically it is literature mixed with a bit of theatre brought to you via podcast. This style of “reading” is great for people who need a little bit more entertainment while reading or listening to an audio book.

Literary podcasts are being featured in huge ways by big time news outlets. The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Guardian each have their own podcast about books. If they can figure out a way to make literature a bigger part of mainstream media, they will in effect be bringing literature to millions of Americans.

It may sound a bit elitist, but people need literature in their lives! For all you readers out there you understand how a good book can literally change your life. Even the zaniest sci-fi novel or the cheesiest rom-com can teach you something important about life and people. Next time you are about to go on a long trip, or if you are just tired of listening to the same old songs on the radio, pop in a podcast about your favorite author or book and see for yourself what all the hype is about.


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