Difference between 'talking books' and 'audio books'

It just occurred to me that Heike has used the term talking books in her current listening report. What exactly is the difference between an audio book and a talking book? Maybe we should ask the talking heads to shed some light on this issue?


TOEFL listening lectures: A lecture by a professor of Archeology[YSaerTTEW443543]


‘Talkingbook’ is a word unknown to the OED… And in the OED the word ‘audiobook’ is spelt together (although I’m sure Torsten’s spelling is correct, too).

Hi Torsten

That is an interesting question. After a short bit of googling, it appears that “talking book” has a more direct connection with a book specifically recorded for the blind or visually impaired and audiobook is for any and everyone.

You get millions of results for both “audiobook” and “audio book” using Google.

Here are a couple of links:


(The “talking book” link is about a Stevie Wonder album.)



Do you have any idea about why the word ‘talkingbook’ is missing in the OED?

Well, “talkingbook” (i.e., one single word) doesn’t get much out of Google, either — only around 600 results.

But as two words (“talking book”), Google will supply you with 1,300,000 results.

Did you also check the OED under just “book”?

I’m of the impression that somebody told me the word talking book (or ‘talkingbook’) was the Australian version of audio book but I’m not sure who exactly that was…[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening lectures: What does DNA analysis reveal about the domestication of horses?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Torsten

I can’t speak for the Aussies 8), but googling “talking book” gets you a lot of sites that are connected with braille and the blind - in the UK, USA, and also Australia. But those websites also refer to the books as “audio books”. I have a feeling that “talking book” may just be an older term than “audio book” and was probably the original the term used for special talking books for blind — back in the days before everybody started buying such books. But, I’m just guessing based on what Google has found. I haven’t done any intensive reading.

A couple links:
rnib.org.uk/xpedio/groups/public … books.hcsp


From the Royal National Institute of the Blind (UK) website, a little history of “talking books” :D:
rnib.org.uk/xpedio/groups/pu … story.hcsp