January 6, 2011 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Is anyone doing audiobooks for magazine and web articles? If not, why not? I wouldn't mind being able to hear a Malcolm Gladwell article read to me while I am on my commute or on a run. Are there any services that offer this? I haven't been able to find any, and I am wondering why. Copyright? No market? If I wanted to start a audiobook company what are my obstacles?
posted by jasondigitized to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Slate does podcasts. So does Time. My favorite magazine podcast is Science.

If you wanted to start an audiomagazine company and do podcasts of currently print-only or web-only material, you'd have to negotiate purchase of the rights for each article, hiring voice talent, and finding distribution (though the last might be the easiest part). It might be expensive.

Timeliness is also a challenge. It's an interesting idea, though!
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:09 PM on January 6, 2011

For web articles, the answer is Podcasts.

They may not be exactly what you want, but for content producers and website creators, they fill the need for an audio 'version' of their website, and remove the need, in their minds, for any other audio product, I suspect.

For magazines, there are options available. For example, Audible lists 52 titles for Malcom Gladwell, including his work with the New Yorker.
posted by nomisxid at 3:10 PM on January 6, 2011

The Economist publishes all of their articles as audio.
posted by A Kingdom for a Donkey at 3:12 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

BookShare has some periodicals available in accessible formats which could be read to you with the proper equipment, but you'd have to have a print disability* to qualify.

* Visual impairments, physical disabilities and/or learning disabilities that affect a person's ability to hold, read, or understand printed material in the usual fashion.

BTW, they're offering a free one-month trial membership (disclosure: self link) until the middle of February.
posted by Soliloquy at 3:23 PM on January 6, 2011

You can get The New Yorker and lots of other magazines on Audible. I don't think they usually sell individual articles, though, any more than you can buy an individual article from an issue of The New Yorker.
posted by mskyle at 3:34 PM on January 6, 2011

In the UK, talking newspapers and magazines have been around for a long time. This looks like similar initiatives must exist in the US.
posted by nowonmai at 4:24 PM on January 6, 2011

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