US Army's first two audiobooks are free to the public

The United States Army has released two training manuals as audiobooks that are freely accessible to the public. The two audiobooks represent the first time the US Army has released training manuals in audio form, giving those who prefer to listen rather than read a new way to digest the material. The new content was released by the Training and Doctrine Command's Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate (CADD).

The two audiobooks were a project recently detailed to The Verge, which reports that plans to turn the training manuals into audiobooks started around 18 months ago. The audio project's lead, Col. Richard Creed, revealed that the audiobooks were the result of a brainstorming session during which time officials thought up new ways to get information to soldiers.

Audiobooks have proven wildly popular in the digital age. Unlike past decades during which listening to an audiobook meant working through a huge number of cassette tapes or CDs, modern audiobooks are delivered by apps from services like Audible directly to the listener's phone. This content can be streamed through a home using Bluetooth speakers, to earbuds during a lunch break, or in the car while running errands.

The combination of popularity and convenience made audiobooks an appealing prospect for the Army, which now offers its first two audio works as free downloads on the website: the FM 3-0, Operations and ADP 7-0, Training manuals.

The massive popularity of audiobooks has resulted in a spike in the original audiobook market, something largely dominated by Amazon's Audible with its relatively new Audible Originals. Thanks to huge listener numbers, we've seen some great works arrive in audio format, including Audible's original dramatization of the Alien III script from William Gibson.