I am putting the finishing touches on a first draft of a chapter on historical biography for my book on biography readers' advisory. One of the thing that I have been doing is checking the availability of audiobooks and large print for titles that I review. With the growing demand from an aging population and from people inclined to audio, it is helpful knowing what is available.
How you view the current situation depends on whether you view glasses as half empty or half full. Of the 71 historical biography titles in the chapter, 18 are available as unabridged audiobooks, either cassette tapes or compact discs. You may say, "See how the audiobook industry has grown! 25 percent of these popular books are in audio." If you have recently had clients expecting everything in audio, you may be disappointed.
Large print is definitely lagging. Only 9 of the 71 titles are available in large type. This might be understandable, as many of the historical biographies are lengthy. These books produced in large print might be mighty hefty. Elderly readers might not be able to hold them.
Six of the most well-known books are available in both audio and large print.
The report can be tempered with some good news for the certifiably visually handicapped. Worldcat shows another six or seven of these titles available as recording for the blind and dyslexic. I do not note these in my chapter because they are not available commercially of to the general public.
I hope the state of audiobook availability is better in fiction. Who knows?