These used to be the preserve of the blind or poorly sighted and often recorded especially for them by organisations such as the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People). I have had man friends over the years deeply grateful for the output of such organisations which included newspapers, books, audio-description of films, and so on.
Slowly we saw the introduction of prerecorded material on the high-street, or more especially at motorway service stations and anywhere else there were high volumes of commuter/business travel traffic. This material ranged from learning languages, self-improvement tapes, popular radio programmes, gig recordings of the more popular comedians, and, finally, reading of popular books. Very popular books mostly.
Cassette tapes gave way to CD in due course and the amount of material expanded.
Now, we have download formats and a much better way to secure the material required.
I was already downloading a wide range of broadcasts via iTunes to my ipod. I mostly listen to these in the car when travelling the work – usually a several-hour journey.
I recently added read books purchased from audiobooks.co.uk which has a very wide range of material available downloadable in a range of different formats. Books can be purchased in the normal way of most online stores but one can also subscribe. I do at £15 per month which gives me two book-credit each month. Each book credit can be applied to any single-book purchase whatever the normal cost/length of the book concerned.
I have purchased and listened to a wide range of books including biographies, non-fiction novels. I shall post details of these in due course.
Several colleagues also subscribe now.