Please Be Advised – Listeners Are Readers Too

Readers’ advisory, simply put, is connecting someone with reading content they’ll enjoy based on what they already enjoy. It’s about giving them chocolate with their peanut butter. Or peanut butter with their jelly. Or jelly with their chocolate, if that’s the kind of thing they’re into.

And this is the internet, where no one is judging you for what you like!

So that must mean that recommending an audiobook is basically the same thing, right? Wrong! You just grated chocolate on someone’s plate of spaghetti! You just drizzled peanut butter on a nice coq au vin blanc! You put jelly on my egg McMuffin!

And even though I loved it, I’m going to tell you about listeners’ advisory anyway.

Listeners’ advisory shares all the nuance of readers’ advisory with the added parameters of things like: format and narrator preferences. Think about it like this: people read at different speeds, they may want the ability to listen at different speeds. People listen to audiobooks when they jog, so will a 10 CD audiobook work? What if they don’t have a smart device? What if they only want something read by the author?

They said they wanted a book read by the author! Imagine the egg on my face when I recommended The Epic of Gilgamesh, HIYOO! heh…Is this thing on?

Here’s a simple recipe to help you put together a good listeners’ advisory interaction. One part read-alike, one part agreeable narrator voice, and one part format preference. No surprise here, we can find read-alikes easily with Novelist! You can get a lot of legwork done in the Advanced Search feature by limiting results to Audiobooks and using all the relevant keywords. You can also narrow results by duration, series status, abridged or unabridged, audience, award winner status, the list goes on. You want an audiobook thriller in a series that is read by the author? You got it!

Well, that was easy! Guess we can call it a day, right? Just put a hold on that in Libby, and when it comes in next week just download it right before your 15 hour flight to Malta! Oh, you tried that once just to discover the narrator’s voice bored you to tears? Unlistenable you say? It upset you and your bad mood ruined the entire vacation for yourself and everyone you came into contact with?

May I recommend an audiobook?

It’s always good practice to Sample an audiobook in Libby, if that’s your preferred format for audiobooks. There’s no shame in liking or disliking a narrators voice! And audiobook aficionados will sometimes have strong, yet valid, opinions.

Alexa, play “That’s What Friends Are For” by Dionne Warwick.

Here is an additional resource for finding the right voice. AudioFile Magazine’s website is a great place to find reviews, hear audiobook samples, and see which audiobooks are winning awards! You can even discover specific narrators who have been recognized in the field of professional reading! So next time you visit Novelist or the library catalog, you can try searching by your favorite narrator instead of author and be pleasantly surprised.

There’s also format. Would you believe they stopped putting CD players in cars? Right around the time The Epic of Gilgamesh was written (HIYOO!!). But, CD audiobooks still circulate alongside Playaways as a reliable alternative to eAudiobooks.

“Some people prefer the feel of real digital, man.” – guy wearing a scarf in June

So, listener’s advisory requires some extra attentiveness if you want to cook up the perfect recommendation for your patrons tastes. But, as always, you’re fully equipped for success thanks to your Allegheny County digital resources! If you’re looking for audiobook recommendations, feel free to reach out to your local library!

Derek – South Park Township Library

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