by Dona J. Helmer
A lifetime ago, someone asked me if I had any audiobooks they could borrow for a summer road trip. I had to admit that I didn’t own any but could get her some. I simply sent a letter to the now-defunct Kliatt magazine and asked if I could review audiobooks for them. When you review, you generally don’t get paid but you do get to keep the material so I soon had some audiobooks to share. You know the story, life happened and I no longer had time to review but I still loved books on tape. While I was living my life, the industry experienced huge growth. Actually, I found out recently audiobooks are the fastest growing segment in the digital publishing industry. https://goodereader.com/blog/audiobooks/global-audiobook-trends-and-statistics-for-2018 Michelle Cobb of the Audiobook Publishers Association stated, “26% of the US population has listened to an audiobook in the last 12 months... 8% of all listeners are under the age 35.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about audiobooks and their place in our lives and our libraries. First, let me disclose that I love having someone tell me a story. I also like to use my time to multitask while I am sewing or (sigh) doing what the little dusting and vacuuming I do that passes for housework. I also have friends I meet who recommend specific readers and specific audiobooks that I “must read”.
I decided that I need to update and improve my skills as a selector and listener. An article at Bookriot (https://bookriot.com/2018/07/10/audiobooks-vs-reading/) says that,”Reading aphysical book and listening to the audiobook are two different paths that lead to the same destination. Each creates differing experiences and memories, but neither is better or worse than the other”. Of course, I knew that but the post helped to clarify my thoughts and you might want to take a look at their list of ways to view audiobooks vs reading.
At conference this summer, I heard Mary Burkey, author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013), talk about the history of audiobooks and give tips about listening critically. Mary is past chair of the American Library Association’s Notable Children’s Recordings, was part of the Odyssey Award Task Force, and served as the chair of ALA s first Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production Committee. She reviews for Booklist magazine and The Horn Book magazine, and writes Booklist’s audiobook column Voices in My Head. She is an amazing resource and I just had to buy her book so I could continue to learn more.
In fact, I got so enthused about audiobooks that in addition to Mary B ‘s book I also purchasedListening to Learn: Audiobooks Supporting Literacy by Sharon Grover and Lizette D. Hannegan (ALA, 2011). This is an older work but has a research bibliography and information about thematic lists of quality titles and suggested group listening activities that you can share with teachers
If you are looking for current (low cost or free) information check out:https://www.booklistreader.com/category/audiobooks/ for up-to-date information on the Audie Award winners, new audiobooks and reviews.
Also take a look at http://soundcommentary.com/ for lengthy reviews of audiobooks by library practitioners. You can subscribe for under $7 per year.
Need Money? Remember you can always do a grant to DonorsChoose or if you exploring grants to help integrate audiobooks and need some statistics or maybe just ideas, gohttps://www.booklistreader.com/2017/04/04/audiobooks/a-trove-of-resources-to-help-you-get-an-audiobook-grant/