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History of commercial audiobook is one small window on evolution of ethic of efficiency

The Baffler: “…Audible is an arm of this effort. Audiobooks are the fastest growing part of publishing, “a tiny bright spot” for the industry, according to Bloomberg : revenue from downloads has roughly tripled in the last five years and reached $2.5 billion in 2017. But Amazon dominates the audiobook market, mostly through Audible. As other publishers wake up to the importance of audio, Audible continues “aggressively courting authors to create exclusive works for them,” as the New York Times reported in June. (Most buzzily, it tempted the writer Michael Lewis to leave his post as a feature writer at Vanity Fair and turn his reporting into “Audible Originals” instead.) As Amazon hogs this new source of sunlight, the publishers struggling in its shade cut costs, including propping themselves up on “full-time freelance” labor, to borrow a misnomer from a recent debate concerning Vanity Fair’s parent company, Condé Nast. Keeping company with my Audible app over lunch, I’ve come to see it as the buddy our tech overlords have granted me in the isolation that they help to impose…”

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