I’m ashamed (if only slightly) to say I’ve never “read” an audio book. I used, when in Britain, to listen sometimes to “A Book at Bedtime”, a regular BBC Radio program on which a book is read from start to finish in daily installments, so it’s not that I can’t get a book when I only hear it. Maybe because I’ve spent my adult life turning manuscripts into printed books, I find alternatives hard to take — but then I am perfectly content to read e-books. I think maybe I associate audio books with driving, and as a New Yorker I don’t own a car, so I don’t really ever indulge in solo long-distance driving. Is that a reasonable excuse — do I really need an excuse? A fact is just a fact.

Audio books represent a growing sector of the book business: many people like to hear books being read to them by actors, famous or specialized, and we should be grateful that they are able to do so. Here’s a clip of Matthew from Downton Abbey reading from The Odyssey for Macmillan Audio. He’s also recording The Iliad, both in the Robert Fitzgerald translation, apparently for some educational purpose says Shelf Awareness.

Here’s a recent video about Audible.com largest audible book publisher, and part of Amazon now, brought to us by mediabistro. The fact that Corey Booker has moved on from mayor to senator dates it slightly, but the video provides an interesting overview and some nice shots of Newark.

Here’s Billy Crystal starting a recording for Macmillan Audio of Still Foolin’ Em, his book about aging.