What is your idea of spending a pleasant evening when it’s drizzling outdoors? Normally, for me, it’s going for a short walk! But what if you don’t want to get too wet? That was my exact situation yesterday. I hit upon a great idea. I and Mayura walked through the rain for about seven minutes and reached Reliance Timeout, my favourite book store.
Next to reading books, browsing through books is one of my favourite ways to pass time pleasantly. I get lost in books. Just looking at the covers and titles tells you so much about the diversity of the world. I read the back covers of the book. Just reading them exposes to so many new ideas. I was wandering through to aisles aimlessly, picking a book here, looking at a book there, when I passed by the Audiobooks shelf. Though I am curious about them, and in the past have bought a few, Normally, I just pass by because of the prohibitive price tags. However, my eye was caught by covers of two audiobooks displayed here. I was pleasantly surprised, about finding audiobooks that were obviously Indian. The packaging was nice. The prise tags also looked pretty sensible.
I picked both of them and looked at the covers. I noted the companies who were making and marketing them, noted their websites and kept them down. I didn’t buy them. Nowadays, I browse the books in Reliance Timeout, or Crossword, but buy them on Flipkart. I find the pricing very attractive. Though I feel a little guilty doing it, the prices on Flipkart are too compelling.
Small Wonder is produced by BooksTalk, a Bangalore based company. Jayashree & Jai, founders of BooksTalk, on their website say
The rigors of a day commuting in growing traffic, 10-12 hours of work, and taking care of domestic chores means that there is no time left for reading. Besides, having read emails, and reports and presentations all day, the reading part of the brain is not always ready to play ball at the end of a day.
So we wondered, ‘can we liven up our commutes, chores and wait-
times with a story or with some ‘reading’?’
What if we used the hours spent in mindlessly commuting and waiting at airports, flights, doctors’ waiting rooms to ‘read’. What if someone read the books to us while we were doing this?
This description transported me back in time when we were young kids. I remember the nights when my mother would read out books by popular Marathi authors to us. We spent many a night listening to my mother read to us books by D. M. Mirasdar, the noted Marathi humourist, that had funny episodes from his imaginary village of Bhokarwadi. We would literally laugh our way to sleep. Telling and listening to the stories has been the most common entertainment since time immemorial.
The Chanakya Neeti is published by reado.com. There website says “We are currently under production. Every week we shall reveal a new book in the rack below for your listening pleasure.” If you click on any of the books on the rack, it takes you to a page that contains the details of the book. The details page has a “Media” link. When you click on that link, it reveals a form that allows you to enter your name and email address and provides a download link to the sample chapters. I downloaded the voice files for THE IMMORTALS OF MELUHA, and listened to them. The story is told by Rashid Raza. He has a great voice and there is very light background music in places. Listening the story was a great experience.
I think this is a great revolution, and at the right time. Almost everyone has a phone that can play mp3. And listening to great books is much better that listening to Munni becoming badnaam, or sheila getting young! If the price point can be kept right, as BooksTalk has done and good voice artists are used, these things can spread fast. Also, language or ability to read need not be bottlenecks anymore. The possibilities are just limitless. Let’s wait and hear.