Audiobook Advisory

Audiobooks continue to grow in popularity, as evidenced by the amount of copies of top titles in OverDrive. For instance, Laura Dave’s current bestseller “The Last Thing He Told Me” currently has 467 holds on 85 copies.

While certain titles will be popular in all formats, audiobooks do have an extra hurdle that print books don’t: what if the reader isn’t good? Any number of factors can contribute to not enjoying the narration of an audiobook–the reader chooses to take on accents they shouldn’t, inconsistently pronounces or mispronounces names, or they just don’t seem to fit for the listener.

While traditional reviews and word of mouth on a book can help in selecting whether to choose an audiobook, there are now more outlets that specifically review the audio experience.

AudioFile Magazine reviews many new releases, along with an extensive back catalog of reviews.

Book Riot has an audiobook-specific vertical on their website with reviews, news, and articles. They just released an article called “Who Listens to Audiobooks”, which highlights an interesting study done called Immersive Media and Books 2020. An especially interesting statistic for library staff: 81/4% of survey respondents that listen to audiobooks have a library card.

Vulture, the culture website of New York Magazine, has been doing a monthly audiobook recommendation article that generally includes some more obvious bestseller releases (they recommended “The Last Thing He Told Me” for July) with some more obscure fare. One other aspect that is interesting about Vulture’s coverage is they note the speed you can listen to the book at for optimal listening pleasure. One major positive to the growing shift to e-audio is being able to speed up narration when appropriate.

As audiobooks continue to grow in popularity, there will surely be more coverage specific to the audio experience of a title. These sites are a great place to start for both those new to audiobooks and those that go through multiple books a month.

Jeff, South Park

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