Reading spaces

Original audiobooks and mobile listening




Following ‘the audiobook boom’ of recent years, born-audio narratives have emerged: texts produced specifi cally for the audiobook format and intended for mobile audio consumption. Focusing on this category of works, this article examines how the audiobook draws attention to places and situations in which we read, and how these places, in turn, infl uence the content and experience of literary works. Drawing on theories on mobile reading and listening by, for example, Michael Bull (2007), Lutz Koepnick (2013, 2019), and Iben Have and Birgitte Stougaard Pedersen (2015, 2020), I investigate the case of Storytel Originals, texts produced specifi cally for sound by the Swedish subscription service Storytel. Focusing first on the Danish Originals series Askehave (2019-2020) by Jakob Melander, I examine how Storytel promotes a situated reading experience for a mobile listener. Next, I move on to investigate what happens to the audiobook experience when the listener is not mobile: Cecilia Garme’s Original series Dagbok Från Coronabubblan (2020) describes everyday life during the corona crisis in spring 2020. Analysing the diary’s refl ections on the isolation at home and the listeners’ response to this text, I examine how the audiobook produces a social and intimate listening space. Based on these two examples, I point to two different tendencies in the content and usage of original audiobooks, one refl ecting how mobile listening promotes situated reading experiences in public and another focusing on the construction of social reading spaces at home.

Author Biography

Sara Tanderup Linkis, PhD, Lund University

Postdoc Fellow

Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University


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How to Cite

Linkis, S. T. (2021). Reading spaces: Original audiobooks and mobile listening. SoundEffects - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Sound and Sound Experience, 10(1), 42–55.