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An Audio Book is a recording of the contents of a book read aloud. It is usually distributed on CDs, cassette tapes, or digital formats (e.g., MP3 and Windows Media Audio). The term "audio book" has been synonymous with "books on tape" for roughly twenty years. Cassette-tape sales still comprise roughly 40% of the audio book market, with CDs the other dominant format type. As of early 2006, downloadable audiobooks account for approximately 6% of the market. In the United States, the most recent sales survey (performed by the Audio Publishers' Association in 2004) estimated the industry to be worth 800 million US dollars. Current industry estimates hover at around two billion US dollars per year. (Wikipedia Definition)

Self-help audio books[]

Audio books are also used for education. Self-help audio books range from public speaking to learning meditation. Their general goal however is always to develop one's skills to be more happy and/or successful in life. While some focus on a particular skill, others aim to shift the listener's life entirely.

Listening practices[]

Audio books are considered a valuable learning tool because of their format. Unlike with traditional books, one can learn from an audio book while doing other tasks, although it should be noted that this can veer attention from the primary task. Such multitasking is feasible when doing mechanical tasks that do not require much thought and have only a very minor or no chance of an emergency arising. Such tasks include doing the laundry and exercising indoors, among others.

Strategies that maximize the benefits derived from listening to an audio book include:

   * Replaying: Depending upon ones degree of attention and interest, it is often necessary 
       to listen to segments of an audio book more than once to allow the material to be understood
       and retained satisfactorily. Replaying may be done immediately, and also after extended 
       periods of time.
   * Learning: A person may listen to a audiobook usually a unabridged one while following along
       in the actual book. This helps the person to learn words they may not learn correctly if 
       they were to just read the book.
   * Notetaking