28 November, 2017
At What Point Do We Give Up On Books? Big Data Has The Answer
When audiobooks got massive on smartphones, they were supposed to liberate us from the strictures of sitting while holding bound pieces of paper (or faffing about with CDs). Books could be consumed at ironing boards and steering wheels, and their convenience would spell the end of the bedside pile of unread – or unfinished – titles.
Well, it turns out we’re still natural quitters, whatever the medium. New stats revealed this week by audiobooks.com showed how many (or few) of us get to the end of a range of audiobooks. They make tough reading for Craig Oliver, whose No 10 Brexit memoirs, Unleashing Demons, kept only 20% of readers rapt until the end. The oft-unfinished War and Peace retained about the same proportion through its 60-plus hours of narration (stats were not available for Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time …)