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Into stories: Digital platform launches audiobooks at UWRF

Josa Lukman

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, October 26, 2019  /  07:56 pm
Into stories: Digital platform launches audiobooks at UWRF

Into stories: Digital platform Storial.co launches the Storial AudioStory featuring more than 31,000 titles from writers throughout Indonesia. (Courtesy Storial.co/-)

Digital writing and reading platform Storial.co has launched Storial AudioStory, a feature that allows readers to peruse stories as if they are an audiobook.

Launched at the 2019 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF), Storial AudioStory is available for some of the platform’s 31,000 titles by 100,000 Indonesian authors.

Storial.co was founded in 2016 and features a wide range of written works, from novels and short stories to poems.

Both paid and free stories in the AudioStory format will be denoted by a headset symbol.

Storial.co CEO Steve Wirawan said in a statement that the feature was targeted at the millennial demographic, acknowledging the rising trend of audiobooks and podcasts.

"There are more than 31,000 titles on the Storial platform as of now, and we expect there will be more millennials who will be able to enjoy the variety of stories by writers from all over Indonesia," he said.

"By following the current trend, we continuously innovate and provide features for users to enjoy stories, with the newest being AudioStory. [...] With this, we believe that AudioStory can be a choice for more millennials.”

While podcasts and audiobooks are not as popular as video content, the platform is slowly gaining traction.

A 2018 report by DailySocial found that the demographics of podcast listeners in Indonesia is dominated by the 20 to 25-year-old age range at 42.12 percent, followed by 26 to 29-year-olds at 25.52 percent.

The same report also found that 43.23 percent of its respondents regularly listen to podcasts, with a majority attributing the appeal to content and on-demand flexibility. The top podcast listening platform is Spotify, followed by Soundcloud and Google Podcast.

The first title with the AudioStory format is Just You and Me by Titi Sanaria from Baubau, Southeast Sulawesi. The story currently has 4.9 out of five stars and has been viewed over 844,000 times.

"We chose this story because of its solid community of readers both online and offline. We hope that other stories will follow the footsteps as a creation that is increasingly recognized by many people through the variety of features we provide," Steve said.

The annual UWRF, first held in 2004 as a peaceful response to the 2002 Bali Bombing, has grown into a globally recognized event, with The Telegraph naming it as one of the world's five best literary festivals.

The gathering has drawn authors, journalists, scholars and thinkers from every corner of the globe. This year, the festival features 180 authors, artists and activists appearing in over 170 events, including panel discussions, performances, workshops, film screenings and book launches held from Oct. 23-27. (ste)