Thus far, the guest speakers from Blackstone Audio, Craig Black and Rick Bleiweiss, have been the most interesting to me. I was especially struck by the software they showed our class that both reads to you, highlights the word the narrator is reading, and allows the reader to follow along as if reading a traditional book. While these features by themselves do not make a remarkable product, the combination of the three seems to be a winner. This product has exciting possibilities for students – it brings an entirely new way to learn to the table. In the future, instead of simply reading our textbooks, we will also be listening to them. Consequently, increasing the amount of the material retained and making for a new way to learn and study.
Another topic brought up during Craig and Rick’s visit to our class was the impact audio books and ebooks may have on print publishing. Will our mom-and-pop bookstores be in danger of closing? Personally, I doubt that electronic publishing and audio books will wipe out the paper book. What it comes down to is the preference of the individual. I prefer hard copies of books while someone else may prefer audio books. To each their own, I say. I am just glad that the advent of ereaders has engaged a whole new audience in reading.