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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Audiobooks, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Atmospheric audiobooks

These audiobooks offer intrepid listeners stories of supernatural and psychological suspense, all with vividly evoked settings.

stroud screaming staircase audiobook Atmospheric audiobooksIn the world of Jonathan Stroud’s The Screaming Staircase (first book in the Lockwood & Co. series), ghost-busting firms employ psychically sensitive children to neutralize supernatural pests infesting London. Lucy Carlyle joins an indie agency — consisting of Lucy, amiable teenage owner Anthony Lockwood, and sardonic George — just before Lockwood accepts a client with a very haunted property. Miranda Raison’s narration imbues Lucy with the right balance of droll humor and compassion for uneasy spirits. Her pacing ratchets up the tension while allowing the teens’ snarky banter room to breathe in this thrilling and funny story. (Listening Library, 10–14 years)

sedgwick midwinterblood audiobook Atmospheric audiobooksMarcus Sedgwick’s Midwinterblood chronicles life on a remote Scandinavian island—going backwards from the future to the distant past — through seven related stories. The tales gradually reveal Blessed Island’s dependence on a strange drug and disturbing history of human sacrifice. Each tale centers on two bonded souls, reincarnated variously as family members, lovers, and intergenerational friends, who reunite only to be wrenched apart again. Narrator Julian Rhind-Tutt ably captures the emotional extremes of this unsettling novel: the uncanny recognition and tender reunion of the protagonists; the desperate fear and violence of their community; and the dark machinations of the island itself. (Listening Library, 12–16 years)

foxlee midnight dress audiobook Atmospheric audiobooksNew girl Rose’s sharp edges gradually soften through relationships with classmate Pearl and eccentric dressmaker Edie in Karen Foxlee’s The Midnight Dress. Edie teases out Rose’s past and shares her own as they sew Rose’s (possibly magical) gown for the upcoming harvest festival. Reader Olivia Mackenzie-Smith transports her listener to a specific era and place (1980s coastal Australia) while also imparting the lyrical prose’s dreamy sense of once-upon-a-time. But there’s no happily ever after here: interspersed interludes reveal that one of the girls has disappeared; Mackenzie-Smith gives these interludes an ominous tone as they progress inexorably towards betrayal and tragedy. (Listening Library, 14 years and up)

lockhart we were liars audiobook Atmospheric audiobooksAfter a two-year absence due to an accident she can’t remember, Cady returns to the private island where her beautiful, privileged family spends its summers. Relationships (particularly among Cady, her same-age cousins Johnny and Mirren, and family friend Gat) feel oddly strained, and no one will tell Cady what happened the summer of the accident. The pieces of her fragmented memory slowly come together to reveal a truth more devastating than Cady (or the listener) could have imagined. The shocking denouement of E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars hits hard — and even more so with narrator Ariadne Meyers’s disbelieving, heartbroken delivery. (Listening Library, 14 years and up)

For more on recommended audiobooks from The Horn Book, click on the tag audiobooks. From the October 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

share save 171 16 Atmospheric audiobooks

The post Atmospheric audiobooks appeared first on The Horn Book.

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2. Audible.com Picks Out a Boyfriend For You

shutterstock_94460545Need a boyfriend this fall? You can forget Cragislist. If you can’t find the man of your dreams, he might just be out there somewhere—in the pages of a book. Or in this case, between your ear buds. Courtesy of Audible.com, we bring you five bachelors to choose from:

1. Will Blakelee in The Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks

Will’s loyalty to Ronnie Miller remains strong in the end of this novel from classic chick lit author Nicholas Sparks. Connecting over family tragedy, Will is there for Ronnie in the end when she most needs him to be by sacrificing his own opportunities. (more…)

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3. Audio Books: Listen to This!


eBook Sale: August 26-31 only $0.99/regular $5.99

Available at these eBook stores Mims House eBookStore Nook Kindle Kobo iBookstore

AUDIO BOOK (Unabridged): Now Available!

Available at these Audio Book stores iTunes Store Amazon Audible

According to the Wall Street Journal, audio books have “ballooned into a $1.2 billion industry, up from $480 million in retail sales in 1997. Unit sales of downloaded audio books grew by nearly 30% in 2011 compared with 2010, according to the Audio Publishers Association.” Some reasons include the ease of listening on smart phones, lower prices, and a growing audience of people who prefer audio books.

I’ve always loved audio books, and in fact, I almost always have one going in my car. That’s why I’m thrilled with my news today that three of my titles are now audio books, with three more coming this fall. If you have audio rights to your books, you can also do this through ACX. They provide a platform for you to audition narrators, who will then produce the book. They are all for sale on iTunes, Audible and Amazon. At the time of this writing, Kell, the Alien is on sale at Audible for only $1.99.

The Girl, the Gypsy and the Gargoyle

Paula Bodin

Paula Bodin, actress and narrator of THE GIRL, THE GYPSY AND THE GARGOYLE.

The narrator, Paula Bodin, created multiple voices for this exciting version of the story.

Paula Bodin is an actress and producer in LA who adores the SciFi/Fantasy genre. She’s voiced multiple characters in shows like Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse, Monster High and Ever After High, brought Lady Door to life in the West Coast Premiere of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and is in numerous film/tv/web productions, including playing Wendy in The New Adventures of Peter & Wendy.

Paula says, “I hope you enjoy listening to this book as much as I enjoyed reading it!”



GGG-ACXCover
Buy the AudioBook

Listen to a Sample


Saucy and Bubba: A Hansel and Gretel Tale

Audio Book Narrator, Monica Clark-Robinson

Audio Book Narrator, Monica Clark-Robinson

Monica Clark-Robinson is a writer, actor, and voice-over artist living in Little Rock, Arkansas. She holds an MFA in Theatre from Michigan State University. Monica has acted locally for the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, and Murry’s Dinner Playhouse. She also writes for kids and teens, and was a finalist in the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Karlin Picture book award competition. Monica has published a cookbook, titled “Vegan Kids Unite,” and she is a speech writer for local and national professionals. She also works as a voice-over talent for local audio production companies. In her “spare time,” she enjoys gardening, reading, and just hanging with her two awesome daughters and her handsome husband.

S&B Audio250x250-150
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Kell, the Alien

Josiah Bildner, audio narrator of the ALIENS, INC. series.

Josiah Bildner, audio narrator of the ALIENS, INC. series.


Josiah Bildner has been performing in theatrical performances since he was 10 when he played Bob Cratchit’s son in Dickens A Christmas Carol. He starred as the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz and Geppetto in Pinnochio in high school and received a drama scholarship at the University of Northern Iowa. After graduation Josiah worked as a director and audio/visual engineer at the NBC affiliate KWWL channel 7 in Waterloo Iowa. Josiah is also a storyteller at a children’s Education Through Music camp and during the school year he is a speech language pathologist. Josiah currently uses all those talents in the wonderful world of voice over. He can be heard voicing many audiobooks, from children’s sci-fi to adult horror, biographies of musical celebrities like Emil Richards and George Harrison to spiritual journeys of Buddhism and Judaism. Josiah Bildner loves voice over because it is the best of all worlds!

Aliens1-250x250-150Buy the AudioBook (Unabridged)

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Do you like audio books? How often do you listen to them?

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4. Why We Love to Listen: YALSA’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

Previously, you learned about what it takes to serve on the Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults committee. Here, some of the current Amazing Audiobooks committee members explain why they love to listen.

Sarah Hashimoto is serving on her first year as a committee member:

I remember listening to The Hunger Games when it first came out on audio in 2008. I was new to audios at the time and was unprepared for how much of an impact they can make. I was listening and gardening when I came to the scene just after Rue has died, when Katniss receives the bread from Rue’s people. It’s such a poignant scene, but the audio version really brought it to life for me. I ended up weeping into my garden gloves, creating a scene of my own!

My favorite audiobook narrators (in no particular order) are:

  1. Kirby Heyborne, so great at producing multiple accents and characterizations.
  2. Fiona Hardingham, who is able to convey nearly palpable emotional anguish.
  3. Lincoln Hoppe, who has a gentle, warm voice that is a pleasure to listen to.
  4. Katherine Kellgren, the narrator of L.A. Meyers’ Bloody Jack series. She does an amazing job in capturing Jacky’s indomitable, feisty spirit.
  5. Allan Corduner, who narrates The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. A perfect fit!
  6. Simon Jones, who has narrated some of my favorite audiobooks, including Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus trilogy. He is a virtuoso at conveying sadness,  anger, and sly sarcasm.

Cindy Vanderbrink is also serving one her first year as part of the committee:

I clearly remember listening to audiobooks (on cassette!) soon after I became a children’s librarian in the mid 1990’s. I’ve always loved books but audios changed my reading habits forever. The first audiobook I listened to was Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples and narrated by Christina Moore.  After tearing through the audio, I was devastated to find that my library’s copy of the sequel, Haveli, was damaged and I had to request an interlibrary loan copy. The wait was excruciating. Once Haveli arrived, I sped through only to be devastated by it ending too quickly. I was so impressed with Christina Moore’s narration, that I listened to several other titles she performed. One of those was Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park. I clearly remember listening to this title in the car. I would be laughing one minute and crying the next. Other drivers must have thought I was certifiable!

Colleen Seisser is the current chair of the Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, and this is her second year serving as a voting member:

I love audios books because I struggle with being a slow reader. I love to read, but am so frustrated when I love a book but it takes me so long to finish. I discovered audiobooks about 8 years ago, when I was working at a middle school library with a librarian who served on the Amazing Audiobooks committee. She was telling me about the audiobook called Twilight, that she just listened to, and that I might also like it. I was hesitant, but it made my summer road trip to South Carolina more enjoyable, so I asked her for more audiobook recommendations. At that time she suggested Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan and Cupid by Julius Lester. Both of these audios are truly amazing productions! And that was the start of my love for audios. I realized that I could listen not only while driving, but I could also listen at home while walking my dog and cleaning. \Listening allowed me to finish books in a more timely manner, and when I listen to audiobooks my attention is always captured and held throughout the book.

When it comes to some of my favorite narrators, I always say that I love a narrator that makes me feel like I am listening to a friend tell me a story. It’s that quality that allows you to be completely engrossed in the story. Recently, I have really enjoyed audios narrated by Fiona Hardingham and Julia Whelan. I have also found it fascinating when I find an author that can really read their work well. A couple example of my favorites are Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens and D.C. Pierson’s Crap Kingdom.

Sylvia Vardell is serving on her second year as an Amazing Audiobooks committee member and has put together this amusing list as to what she likes most about audiobooks:

The Twelve Don’ts of Audiobooks: A Tongue in Cheek List

1. Don’t double your exposure to good books by listening to AND reading books.

2. Don’t let someone else read to you when you can read yourself.

3. Don’t polish your understanding of language by listening to an audiobook.

4. Don’t get exposed to stories from other cultures by listening to them first.

5. Don’t pass the time on long road trips or during difficult hospital stays by listening to a good audiobook.

6. Don’t build your listening vocabulary with audiobooks. You can figure out how words are pronounced just by seeing them.

7. Don’t let reluctant or striving readers get exposed to a whole book by listening to it.

8. Don’t let good or fluent readers get lazy by listening to a good audiobook.

9. Don’t listen to a book that you probably wouldn’t choose to read in the printed version.

10. Don’t let a whole class listen to a good audiobook at the same time.

11. Don’t pay attention to winners and selections of the Odyssey Award, Audie Awards, Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, or Notable Children’s Recordings. What do they know?

12. Don’t expect to lose yourself in a good story. Just avoid movies and music too while you’re at it.

[With a nod to Dean Schneider and Robin Smith for “Unlucky Arithmetic: Thirteen Ways to Raise a Nonreader” which appeared in Horn Book March/April 2001. (Found at http://archive.hbook.com/pdf/articles/13ways.pdf)]

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5. The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia, by Candace Fleming (ages 12+)

Like many of my students, I love getting lost in a story--so absorbed that I am transported to that time and place, that I live with the characters in my mind. I just finished reading to a new biography of the Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family, the last of the mighty Romanov monarchy, and I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend the audiobook and think many teens and their families will find it fascinating.

The Family Romanov:
Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia
by Candace Fleming
narrated by Kimberly Farr, et al.
Penguin Random House, 2014
Listening Library, 2014
Preview on Google Books
Your local library
Amazon / Audible
ages 12 and up
* best new book *
Candace Fleming pulls the reader into the story of the fall of Imperial Russia by providing both an intimate look at the royal family and a careful understanding of the political and social context of their time. It's interesting to read a story when you know the ending, but I found myself on the edge of my seat at several points, wondering just how it would turn out.

Tsar Nicholas II ruled over the immense Russian Empire, which stretched from the edge of Germany and the Baltic Sea all of the way across Europe and northern Asia to the Sea of Japan. He wed his beloved Princess Alix of Hesse in 1894, just weeks after he ascended to the throne.

But the world around them began crumbling under the weight of tremendous social inequalities and poverty, exacerbated by Nicholas's own ineffective political leadership. Fleming helps readers understand this context by using a myriad of primary sources: diaries, letters, first-hand accounts of life in Russia at the turn of the century. Fleming decided, according to an interview in Kirkus Reviews, to keep “any context as close to the story as possible.” These contemporary accounts help readers understand both the day to day lives of the Romanov family and also the discontent and anger that ran through Russia at the time.

Kimberly Farr imbues the audiobook with heart and soul, helping listeners connect with the family members and envision their world. She subtly changes her voice so listeners know when she's reading an actual letter or diary, bringing the myriad characters to life. I also really liked the way the producers used different narrators, often with Russian accents, to read diary excerpts from other individuals. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award for July 2014.

Show teens this video from History.com to get them interested in the mystery surrounding the Romanov's deaths. It's likely they know Anastasia from the animated film, but I'm guessing they don't realize its historical basis.

You might also have interested kids listen to Fleming talk on TeachingBooks.net about her inspiration for writing the book, which stems back to when she was a young teen and discovered a book on her mother's bookshelf. She then reads aloud a chapter from the book, to give readers a sense of her voice.

Other reviews:
The review copy comes from our home library, purchased from the terrific Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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6. Bill O’Reilly to Narrate His Upcoming Audiobook

Outspoken Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly will be the voice for his upcoming audiobook edition of Killing Patton, the fourth book in his bestselling history series which he wrote in collaboration with Martin Dugard.

Macmillan Audio, the audiobook publisher revealed that O’Reilly was in the studio to record his book this week. The audiobook and print edition of the title comes out on September 23, 2014. O’Reilly’s other audiobooks in the series have done well in the past. Killing Lincoln, was the top selling audiobook in the world in 2011; Killing Kennedy was the top selling audiobook in the world in 2012 and Killing Jesus was the top selling audiobook in the world in 2013.

“We are thrilled to have Bill O’Reilly back in the studio recording Killing Patton,” stated  Mary Beth Roche, President and Publisher of Macmillan Audio. ”His powerful narration and this fascinating topic are sure to be another bestselling combination.”

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7. Khristine’s Mad Skillz (And a side review of the Audiobook for Dreams of Gods and Monsters)

Audiobook review by Elisa  DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERSWritten by: Laini Taylor Narrated by: Khristine Hvam Length: 18 hrs and 11 mins Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Book 3 Format: Unabridged Release Date:04-08-14 Publisher: Hachette Audio Program Type: Audiobook Audible In this thrilling conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, Karou is still not ready to forgive Akiva

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8. In Case You Were Wondering . . .

This week I've done a lot of reading (for me), but with exception of ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER, they've all been books that either (1) I didn't finish, (2) ended a series, or (3) weren't Young Adult.  So I thought I'd catch you up on some things I liked, and one that I didn't. * * * IN THE END is the second book in the IN THE AFTER duology.  I really, really liked IN THE AFTER, so I

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9. Caught in Charlotte’s Web

charlottesweb Caught in Charlottes WebI teach ESL to adults and have often used children’s books as educational tools with these students who are trying to master English. I’ve read picture books to lower level classes, but the year I taught Advanced Conversation, I knew I needed something different.

Having taught lower level classes, I can say that in comparison these students truly did have a good grasp of English but they needed help to get to the next level. While they certainly weren’t shy about talking, I realized that this group still needed listening practice. The books chosen for the class were good — providing conversation prompts and vocabulary exercises — but they were ordered without their audio components.

Despite signing up for the class and despite their very real need to practice listening to English, my students seemed to regard listening practice as a form of torture and would groan whenever that part of class  began. I wanted to increase their vocabulary and get them into a focused conversation about a story. I thought Charlotte’s Web would work and borrowed the audiobook from the library.

The characters, the plot, everything is masterfully done. And of course as a child I didn’t realize how many words were being defined within the story, sometimes by a character and sometimes through context.

I introduced the story and we did pre-reading exercises with some of the more challenging vocabulary before listening to each chapter, but the idea was for them to listen to and discuss the story. They were not thrilled.

After one or two audio-only sessions, I won a copy of the 60th anniversary edition of book, so the compromise was that they could pass the book around and they’d spend a little time reading along and some time just listening. They were surprisingly fair about it. The stronger students let the weaker students read along longer. After a few weeks one student had her husband get her a copy at the library so she could read along the entire time.

Once, during a pre-reading exercise, I told the students the chapter they’d hear was called “Explosion” and asked what they thought might explode. One of the younger students, a man in medical school whom I suspect was looking for a more action-packed story replied hopefully, “The pig?”

While there are no exploding pigs, life and death are major themes of the book. This book also depicts a slower, more agrarian lifestyle that fostered discussion because it is a way of life some of my students found familiar.

At the end of the book, the two male students had eyes shining with tears they held back. The women, on the other hand, were quiet and thoughtful but their eyes were dry.

One man affirmed that animals really do communicate with each other, even if we don’t understand them. The student who’d hope for Wilbur to explode said, “At first, I hated it…but it turned out to be a good story.”

share save 171 16 Caught in Charlottes Web

The post Caught in Charlotte’s Web appeared first on The Horn Book.

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10. Oprah Winfrey Will Narrate Her New Audiobook

Oprah Winfrey will narrate her upcoming audiobook What I Know For Sure. The  audiobook from from Macmillan Audio is based on the column in O, The Oprah Magazine which spawned from an interview with  film critic Gene Siskel, who asked her, "What do you know for sure?" The book is a collection of her best reflections from this column which have been edited and revised for the book. "We are thrilled that Oprah Winfrey will be reading her audiobook," stated Mary Beth Roche, President and Publisher at Macmillan Audio. "Throughout her career, Oprah has created unparalleled connections with millions of people. Listeners to the audiobook will appreciate hearing the thoughtful insights shared in this book in Oprah’s own voice. It is sure to be one of the most powerful and sought after audiobooks of the year." The audiobook goes on sale on September 2nd.

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11. HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW by Natalie Whipple (RMB Book & Audiobook Review}

HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW by Natalie Whipple Paperback: 368 pages Publisher: HarperTeen (April 15, 2014)/HarperAudio Narrated By Brittany Pressley Language: English Goodreads Amazon Audible Transparent author Natalie Whipple is back with another refreshing blend of realistic romance and light-hearted humor with a one-of-a-kind paranormal touch. Fans of Charmed, Kiersten White's Paranormalcy

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12. Audible Launches a ‘Hamlet’-Themed #VineThatLine Campaign

Audible has launched a new Vine channel in honor of its recent release, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel. Richard Armitage, the actor who plays Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson's Hobbit film trilogy, serves as the narrator. To celebrate this new audiobook, the company has initiated the #VineThatLine campaign. From May 19th to 23rd, participants have been asked to create their own Vines reciting one of William Shakespeare's most famous lines: "To be or not to be." Submissions have been turned in from ArmitageThe Goonies actor Corey Feldman, hip hop artist Ice-T, and Heroes actor Greg Grunberg. The video embedded above features Grunberg giving an "offbeat" performance. What is your favorite Shakespearean quote?

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13. {GIVEAWAY} Dreams of Gods & Monsters AND Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone audiobook has been one of my absolute, without a doubt, all-time favorite audiobook series ever.  Returning, once again to this audiobook, was such an amazing experience.  I can't really describe what it's like to become so familiar with a reader, that by the last book, it's almost comforting, like it was made to be read like this.  It's just something you have

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14. {Audiobook & Book Review} The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME by Jennifer E. Smith Age Range: 12 and up Grade Level: 7 and up Hardcover: 352 pages Publisher: Poppy (April 15, 2014) Buy the book: Amazon AUDIOBOOKPublisher: Hachette Audio Narrated By Leslie Bellair, Corey BradberryWhispersync for Voice-readyLength: 6 hrs and 29 mins Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment

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15. Workman Sells Off Audiobook Imprint HighBridge Audio

highbridgeWorkman Publishing has sold its audiobook imprint HighBridge Audio to Recorded Books Inc., in a deal whose terms were not disclosed.

Workman will continue to distribute audiobooks from the HighBridge collection. Workman’s imprint Algonquin Books will also keep licensing the audio rights of select titles to HighBridge.

“Our affiliation with HighBridge has been exceptional, but it became clear as we looked to the future that Workman should be investing its energy in its core strengths. Along with the other Workman imprints, we will produce and publish the best and most exciting books and content in the markets where we excel,” stated publisher Carolan Workman.

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16. Audiobook Revenues Reach $1.6 Billion

IBISWorldAudiobook sales are on the rise. From 2008-2013, revenue for the audiobooks is estimated to have grown at an annualized rate of 12 percent to $1.6 billion, according to a new report from IBISWorld.

The increasing popularity of Internet-connected mobile devices among consumers is help drive these sales. From 2013 to 2018, IBISWorld predicts that these numbers will continue to grow. Led by rising disposable income and consumers who are new to adopt audiobooks, revenues should grow “significantly over the next five years,” reports IBISWorld.

“Because audiobooks are relatively cheap discretionary purchases that consumers can afford on tight budgets, the industry has been able to grow during the recession, despite consumers’ low disposable income,” stated Agata Kaczanowska, industry analyst at IBISWorld.

IBISWorld predicts the number of audiobook publishers will rise at an annualized rate of 17 percent to 628 businesses during the five years to 2013.

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17. Freebie Friday: Audiobooks for your Easter basket from Christian Audio

This month’s free download plus a bonus title free until Easter – Two freebies for the Easter season from Christian Audio:

Normal Christian Life_largeNormal Christian Life, by Watchman Nee, narrated by Paul Michael. This month’s free download is a 7 Hrs. 45 Min. classic work which unfolds the path of Christian faith and presents the eternal purpose of God in simple terms

Primer

A Spiritual Formation Primer, by Richella Parham, narrated by Karyn O’Bryant. This two-hour audio lays out the basics of Christian spiritual formation, free until Easter.

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18. Elevating the Art of the Audiobook: Deyan Institute of Voice Artistry & Technology

Bob Deyan

New media = new methods for a growing industry. Audiobook publishing is booming, with Audio Publishers Association statistics noting

6 million more audiobooks were sold in 2012 than were sold in 2011, representing a 13.5% increase in revenue reported by the publishers who shared data for both 2011 and 2012. The sales growth can be attributed in part to the fact that the total number of titles published in 2012 in the audio format has nearly doubled year over year. The format is thriving with the widest selection of titles ever available—13,255 titles were published as audiobooks in 2012, up from 7,237 the previous year. Publishers continue to increase their output to ensure that the most popular trade titles are released simultaneously in print and audio formats.

Even the Wall Street Journal is sitting up and taking note, in The New Explosion in Audio Books: How They Re-emerged as a Rare Bright Spot in the Publishing Business

As media combine into transmedia formats blending text, visuals, and audio there’s a growing need for trained voices and technical experts. There have long been audiobook narrator workshops, led by industry experts such as Pat FraleyJohnny Heller, Robin Miles, Paul RubenBettye Seitz. In response to this growing need for audiobook artists and technical gurus, Bob & Debra Deyan have announced the creation of the Deyan Institute of Vocal Artistry and Technology, a campus environment where, according to the Institute’s press release,

This believed to be the first of its kind worldwide… Institute’s initial lineup of courses includes introductory intensives and master classes for audiobook narrators, specialized courses for voiceover artists, as well as technical courses on production and post-production for both voice actors competing in the ever-increasing self-recording market and audio engineers alike. Deyan Institute instructors are each acclaimed experts in their respective areas of specialty.

I featured the Deyans in my “Voicing a Cause” blog post after the Audio Publishers Association honored the pair with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. For over 20 years, Bob has been dedicated to creating great audios, in partnership with his wife Debra. But the couple has turned their focus to making a positive impact in the world of ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Now Debra Deyan says,

It’s hard to express how much it means to me to launch this school in honor of my husband, Bob Deyan. Bob is riveted by excellent acting, loves the human voice and particularly the ancient art of storytelling. He spent his life’s work directing actors and preserving the human voice experience for generations to come. It is my vision that Bob’s legacy will live on through Deyan Institute.

Best of luck in your new cause, Bob & Debra!

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19. Fascinating! Origins of recording the oral tradition, lost & now found

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New Sounds, Old Voices“, written by Jacob Mikanowski in this week’s New Yorker, holds interest for recording techies and audiobook historians alike. Mikanowski follows the research path of Carl Haber, of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and winner of the MacArthur genius grant for his work on sound restoration. Haber and his team have developed a technology which can more or less photograph the earliest methods of recording sound and translate into digital audio – from disintegrating wax cylinders to the  phonautograph, or “speech writer.” The most interesting part of the article, for me, is Haber’s work with Milman Parry’s recordings – here’s a quote form the article (and you can see the inspiration for ALA’s Odyssey Award):

Since receiving the MacArthur grant, Haber has been working on restoring a collection of sounds that might shed light on the origins of the Western literary tradition. In 1933, a young Harvard scholar named Milman Parry travelled to Yugoslavia in hopes of solving the Homeric Question: How were the Iliad and the Odyssey composed? Classicists had debated for over a century whether the epics were written by a single, literate author or improvised in stages by numerous musicians and bards elaborating on a series of set themes. Parry believed that the answer could be uncovered by analyzing the work of living bards, mainly found among Bosnia’s Muslims, who still sang tales of heroes and wars, especially during the thirty nights of Ramadan.

In my book Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature, the first chapter looks at the history of children’s audiobooks. When doing the research, I became fascinated with the science of sound recording – and articles such as Mikanowski’s show that new discoveries are still in store. What might future researchers discover in those moldering reel-to-reel & cassettes in the basement ;-) If you’re interested in that first chapter, you can read it online here: http://www.alastore.ala.org/pdf/9780838911570_excerpt.pdf

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20. Magic Marks the Spot (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates) by Caroline Carlson-Audiobook Review

Rating: 5/5

Genre: Adventure

Release Date: 9/10/2013

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About the Book: Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. But when her application to The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates is rejected because she's a girl and Hilary discovers that her parents will be sending her off to Miss Pimm's Finishing School to become a proper lady, Hilary knows she must do something! When she sees an ad for a pirate crew, Hilary knows she must apply! Hilary and her talking gargoyle set out on an adventure on the high seas looking for treasure and encounter a terrible villain of the high seas!

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I love a good rollicking fun filled adventure and The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates is the start to an adventurous series that is sure to delight middle grade readers.

Hilary is a spunky main character-just the sort of girl you would expect to sneak her way out of finishing school and join up with pirates. She's joined by a talking gargoyle who is very witty and has a soft spot for romance. The banter between the two characters is charming and hilarious and I loved the uniqueness of Hilary's sidekick being a talking magical object. Hilary has a delightful cast of characters around her-her governess who might just be up for some for adventure, her school roommate who aspires to be an actress, Jasper the pirate captain and his crew, her admiral father who wants to get rid or pirates and even the proper Miss Pimm. All the characters are well fleshed out and have a distinct personality.

The plot is fast paced and full of adventure. There are some great surprises and twists along the way and I loved how the author was able to weave the characters and storylines together. The ultimate bad guy is an interesting twist and I think it opens a lot for future volumes in the series. The writing is wonderfully funny and charming and Augusta is a very well drawn world in which magic is special-but currently being stolen-and pirates are determined by a Very Nearly Honorable League. It's a little bit historical and a little bit fantasy and a lot of action and adventure and fun.

What I especially loved about this one was Hilary herself. She wants to be a pirate and she won't give up on this dream. And she doesn't pose as a boy to make this dream come true. I feel like the girl-disguised-as-a-boy theme is often overdone and I was pleased that that didn't happen in this book but instead Hilary decides she won't take no for an answer and she'll be honest about who she is.

I first learned about this book thanks to the delightful Katherine Kellgren who narrates the audiobook, so I knew I had to listen to this one. I'm so glad I did! Kellgren is once again excellent and gives a rousing narration and you can tell she's having a blast telling this story. The writing is witty and the jokes come across wonderfully on audio. At the end of each chapter, the story is interspersed with letters and newspaper articles and Kellgren is given a chance to flex her narration skills by adding a breadth of voices to these sections. I especially loved her Miss Pimm voice and thought it had a great nod to Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess on Downton Abbey (I'm not sure if this was the intent but I loved it and thought it was perfect!) Kellgren gives Hilary a high energy and it balances well with Jasper's gruff pirate voice, Miss Greyson's (Hilary's governess) quiet sensibility, and her best friend from finishing school Claire, who is overly excitable and dramatic. This audiobook Katherine Kellgren doing what she does best-bringing a delightful cast of characters to an engaging story to make an excellent treat for the ears. I can't wait for the next book in the series.

Book Pairings: Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer,  Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook I purchased at Audible.com

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21. Freebie Friday: A Dr. Seuss audio celebration to download or embed on your website!

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Just in time for Read Across America Day, the March 2nd national celebration of Dr. Seuss‘ 110th birthday! Listening Library is offering star-power read-alouds of seven beloved favorites, for your free download. Or schools & libraries have full permission to embed the nifty player widgets on your website – just click on the links below to download or embed . You can even share each of the audios on any (or all!) of your social media accounts. So make this Sunday, March 2nd, a Seuss-tastic day of audio awesomeness – send audio clips of Seuss happiness to everyone you know!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, read by Walter Matthau
The Bippolo Seed, read by Neil Patrick Harris
Yertle the Turtle, read by John Lithgow
The Cat in the Hat, read by Kelsey Grammer
Green Eggs & Ham, read by Jason Alexander
Horton Hears a Who, read by Dustin Hoffman, Billy Crystal and Mercedes McCambridge
The Lorax, read by Ted Danson

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22. Freebie Friday: Oscar Wilde classic & an epic fantasy short story

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Two free audio goodies – grab them now!

The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde, is available as a free iTunes app from L.A. Theatre Works. Download this free app to any Apple device, and enjoy not only the full play, but also the entire text so you can read it standalone or follow along with the audio. The app also includes an interview with director Michael Hackett, Professor of Theater in the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA as well as pop-up annotations that follow the audio. The production stars James Marsters as Jack, Charles Busch as Lady Bracknell, and Emily Bergl as Cecily. A must-have for any educational drama program!

The Jester (A Riyria Chronicles Tale), written by Michael J. Sullivan & narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds, is a free short story download from Audible. This hour-long production will give you a stand-alone introduction to Sulivan’s action-packed epic fantasy world.

Happy listening!

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23. On writing The Wolves of Midwinter theme song for Anne Rice

Mary Fahl shares how audio production can go beyond the narrator behind a mic, by enhancing the experience with an original musical setting, on Random House Audio’s The Wolves of MidwinterOn the American Songwriter blog, Fahl explains that it all started when the singer-songwriter, and long-time Rice fan, gave a copy of her album Love & Gravity to the novelist before it was released. Fahl was flattered to receive a galley copy of Rice’s newest work in return, via her publicist - it was the 

The Wolves of Midwinter with an inscription that read “For Mary Fahl of the supernatural voice…” “Give this to Mary”, Anne said, “Tell her she’s in the book.”  Some discussion followed and it was decided that it would be a great idea for me to write a song for the audiobook version of the novel.

In Fahl’s blog post, she shares exactly how she met this challenge:

Random House needed the recording in less than two weeks, and with my already packed schedule, I was left with a little more than 6 days to write, arrange, record, mix and master the song. I hadn’t even read the book yet.  As you might imagine, nausea ensued, but I had already committed to the project, and not being one to back out of a promise, I plunged in.

Audiobooks can be magical when the publishers provide a soundscape that enhances and extends the author’s text. Whether it’s the inspired casting of the perfect narrator, or the care involved in crafting a soundscape that includes music or sound effects,  listeners know that production preparation = audiobook awesomeness.

 

Give a listen to Fahl’s theme song below, and read the whole blog post here: http://www.americansongwriter.com/2014/02/songwriter-u-guest-blog-mary-fahl-approached-anne-rice-write-theme-song-exiles-wolves-midwinter-new-audiobook/

 

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24. News you can use: Audiobooks coming to 3M Cloud Library

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More options for audio. Findaway World, the parent company of  Playaway, has partnered with the 3M Cloud Library to offer 40,000 eAudiobook titles though 3M’s established library download interface & app,  and all eAudio titles will be compatible on all devices. This new enhancement to the 3M Cloud Library will debut at the American Library Assoication’s PLA division conference in Indianapolis next week.  Find out more on this press release.

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25. Audio Review: How To Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell Narrated by David Tennant from Hachette Audio

Age Range: 8 and up  Grade Level: 3 - 7 Series: How to Train Your Dragon Program Type: Audiobook Version: Unabridged Publisher: Hachette Audio Audible.com Release Date: December 10, 2013 Language: English ASIN: B00HNCMW0E Buy on Amazon Chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III as he tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan, the

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