KOCHI: At a time when there is so much advancement in technology and people enjoy listening and seeing the audios and videos in their mobile phones from their family and friends, a mobile application KathaCafe is making reading more interesting and easier for book lovers. Audio-books give the feeling of listening to music.
Children too young to read or those without a reading habit can get hooked on to books through these audio narratives. It also helps senior citizens enjoy literature without straining their eyes.
One of the best things about audiobooks is they can be used while travelling or doing other jobs. Research has also found audio books help attract kids to reading.
With a mission to provide the readers the same feeling of holding a book and reading, for the first time an audio novel has been introduced by KathaCafe. ‘Ouija Board’, a horror thriller by Akhil P Dharmajan is the first audio novel in Malayalam launched through the KathaCafe app. This was listed in the top of Amazon horror chart in 2017. The ‘Ouija Board’ content runs up to five hours. It is narrated by Reji Kalavoor who is a professional voice artist.
Binuraj says, “Some 100 copies have already been sold. People who love reading books gave us a feedback this audio novel was quite interesting for them.” ‘Ouija Board’ has a scary, horrifying imagery which takes hold of the audience and stays until the end of the novel. This book was released by Akhil in a graveyard in Alappuzha some three years back. It is the only regional language book which is listed among bestselling horror books.
The KathaCafe android application was launched in February 2017 with more than 20 stories, typically around 60 minutes of content for each story. Narrations are recorded in audio studios to have an excellent quality output for the users. KathaCafe has books by classic authors like Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and Oscar Wilde.
Binuraj Nair, KathaCafe’s founder, presently working as a consultant in the UK said, “It has been one year since the launch of the app; the response is good. It has been downloaded by more than 15,000 people and has close to 4,000 active users.”
These audiobooks are a boon to visually challenged individuals. The translated books are usually priced between Rs 20 and Rs 40. Also, every new user is given Rs 100 store credit on signing up. This can be used to buy audiobooks through the app. This way, new users can try out the app for free. The next story KathaCafe plans to publish is ‘Bharthruhariyude Kuthirakkaran’ by renowned Malayalam author K L Mohanavarma.