Monthly Archives: December 2011

New Year, New You?

Adam Boretz -- December 29th, 2011

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is — at least for me — traditionally marked by a wholesale reassessment of my life, a tallying of my numerous deficiencies, and the formulation of a plan to target those deficiencies via a laundry list of mostly unachievable New Year’s Resolutions. I know I’m not alone on this, as evidenced by Woody Guthrie’s 1943 list of “New Years Rulin’s.”

So with our collective faults and universal desire for self-improvement in mind, I suggest we turn our attention to audiobooks.

Our pals over at Audible have a host of motivation and inspiration audio titles — including Brand New You: Become the Best Version of You! With a Little Help from Our Experts — guaranteed to help everyone and anyone compile a list of New Year’s Resolutions. Whether you need to drink less, drink more (probably not very likely), eat less, eat more (again, not very likely), get more exercise, get less stressed, better manage your time, or simply become a better person, check out Audible’s Motivation & Inspiration titles today!


Functional Nerds Podcast: Audiobooks Edition

Adam Boretz -- December 28th, 2011


Here at Audio HQ, we were delighted to discover that Patrick Hester and John Anealio of the Functional Nerds Podcast recently devoted a show to audiobooks, featuring Samuel Montgomery-Blinn and John DeNardo.

Check out Functional Nerds Podcast Episode 85 for a great discussion of audiobooks with a definite science fiction/fantasy focus. Here’s a DIRECT LINK to the podcast.


Classic Literature Pick of the Week

Adam Boretz -- December 27th, 2011

This week’s Classic Literature Pick of the Week is the audio version of John Steinbeck’s The Moon Is Down.

Available from Penguin Audio, the audiobook is narrated by George Guidall. Check out THIS LINK for an audio excerpt.

And, if you’re a Steinbeck fan, be sure to check out Penguin Audio’s recent collection of the author’s best-loved titles, narrated by the likes of Gary Sinise, Richard Poe, and John McDonough. The new audio collection includes Of Mice and Men, Tortilla Flat, Travels with Charley (which PW gave a Starred Review), and East of Eden.

For more information on the Steinbeck collection, be sure to take a look at the following episode of Penguin Audio Book Break:


Last-Minute Shopping: Audio Edition

Adam Boretz -- December 23rd, 2011

If you’re like me and still have some last-minute shopping to do, forget the mall with its long lines, limited selection, and violent, pepper-spray wielding crowds, and instead consider giving the gift of audio.

Many audio publishers are offering deep discounts and great deals for the Holidays. Check out these Gift-Giving Ideas from Naxos Audio, the Holiday Shopping Showcase at AudioGO, the Huge Sale at Tantor Audio, and all the great deals at

Happy Holidays from all of us at Publishers Weekly and Listen Up!


Now Playing: Holiday Audio Edition

Adam Boretz -- December 21st, 2011

I could probably devote a series of posts to Holiday Audio Classics — what with the many versions of A Christmas Carol (check out THIS VERSION read by Tim Curry) and THIS SLEW of other festive titles.

However, my all-time favorite Holiday Audio is the radio drama of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes short story The Blue Carbuncle. It’s part of Highbridge Audio’s Sherlock Holmes: A Baker Street Dozen, starring Sir John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, and Orson Wells.

And while the story isn’t essentially a holiday one — it’s more about precious gems, geese, thievery, and the like — I think this adaptation still fits the Holiday Listening Bill.

If you’re a Holmes fan and you haven’t heard these great radio dramas, do yourself a favor and check them out NOW. And check out THIS LINK for an audio excerpt from The Blue Carbuncle.


Now Playing: Charles Dickens: The Classic Radio Dramas

Adam Boretz -- December 14th, 2011

This week I’m diving into Charles Dickens: The Classic Radio Dramas from AudioGO.

The collection — which weighs in at 27 CDs and about 29 hours — includes full cast performances of Oliver Twist, Bleak House, Hard Times, Little Dorrit, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations. Among the cast members are the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, Tim McInnerny, Michael Kitchen, John Woodvine, Charles Dance, and Geraldine McEwan.

If you’re like me and love full cast audios, this massive collection from AudioGO is definitely worth checking out!


Washington Post: Best Audiobooks of 2011

Adam Boretz -- December 13th, 2011


Today we present you with another great Best Audiobooks of 2011 List, this time from The Washington Post.

Check out Katherine A. Powers’ favorite audiobooks of the year RIGHT HERE. Do you agree with her picks?  What are your favorite audios of 2011?


APA 2011 Sales Survey

Adam Boretz -- December 12th, 2011

Late last week, the Audiobook Publishers Association released its 2011 Sales Survey. Take a look below for some of this year’s survey highlights:

  • Unit sales were up nearly 10 percent in the past year, showing continued consumer interest in audiobooks.
  • Based on the companies who reported (representing 61 percent of industry), total net sales (after returns) are up by 2 million units and $2 million.
  • The total number of audiobooks being published doubled in the past three years, from 3,073 in 2007 to 6,200 in 2010.
  • Audiobook downloads continued on a growth trend representing 36 percent of dollar volume (up from 29 percent in 2009) and 52 percent of unit sales (up from 48 percent in 2009)
  • In the past 5 years, downloading has grown 300 percent by dollar volume (from 9 percent in 2005) and 150 percent in terms of units (from 21 percent in 2005).
  • The CD format still represents the largest single source of dollars but showed slight declines overall in 2010 – 58 percent of revenue (down from 65 percent) and 43 percent of unit sales (down from 46 percent).
  • Unabridged editions (89 percent of the market by dollars; 85 percent of the market by units) continue to lead in sales.

Audio Review Spotlight: When She Woke

Adam Boretz -- December 7th, 2011


Our latest batch of audio review is in print and online at Publishers Weekly. Check them out HERE at your leisure, and in the meantime, let’s highlight our Starred Review of Hillary Jordan’s When She Woke. The audio production is narrated by Heather Corrigan and available from HighBridge Audio. And don’t forget to check out an Audio Excerpt Right HERE.


 When She Woke
Hillary Jordan, read by Heather Corrigan. HighBridge Audio, unabridged, nine CDs, 10.75 hrs., $34.95 ISBN 978-1-61174-570-2

In a dystopian future ruled by religious fundamentalists, young Hannah Payne is convicted of murder after having an abortion and becomes a “Chrome”—a criminal whose skin pigment has been altered to reveal her criminality to the world. Heather Corrigan begins her narration in a young, frightened voice, conveying Hannah’s emotion, innocence, vulnerability, and shame. As Hannah matures and begins to question societal values and take control of her life and choices, Corrigan’s voice gradually becomes stronger and more determined, reflecting the character’s evolving maturity and strength. Corrigan also skillfully renders the book’s supporting cast with a dazzling array of distinctive voices, including Southerner Kayla, French Simone, a sympathetic Bostonian preacher, and several merciless, bombastic, fire-and-brimstone villains. With Corrigan’s excellent performance, this already thought-provoking novel becomes an utterly compelling, can’t-stop-listening audiobook. An Algonquin hardcover. (Oct.)

Audiobook Q&A: Johnny Heller

Adam Boretz -- December 6th, 2011

This week, our Audiobook Q&A Series returns and we chat with Johnny Heller about his recent work narrating The Postmortal, his latest projects, his significant experience ripping bodices, and the importance of always knowing where the restroom is located.

1. You recently narrated Drew Magary’s The Postmortal for Tantor. How was that experience? What was the biggest challenge?

Narrating always has challenges — the major one being that we narrators know that we will not be able to please every fan of a given book! Our job is to be a conduit for the author’s truth — I know that sounds all “actory” but it’s the best way I can explain what we do.

I don’t always get to narrate books I love or would willingly read on my own, but The Postmortal was awesome. I loved the book and I told Magary that I thought he was brilliant. It’s just a tremendous read that I hope is going to be a tremendous listen. My biggest challenge with this title was living up to my own expectations — of making my narration as excellent as the printed word. I think I did, but then again I’m biased! 

2. This is the first book by Magary that you’ve narrated. Does that newness make the job of narrating an audiobook more difficult? Do you think that when you narrate multiple books by the same author, you develop a relationship with their work and are able to slip back into the author’s writing?

Absolutely. When you narrate a series of titles by the same author you get in touch with his rhythms and — hopefully — get to create recurring characters. I get to do that with the Richard Castle books (Naked Heat, Heat Wave, and Heat Rises), with Michael Wiley’s Joe Kozmarsky series for Blackstone, Michael Buckley’s NERDS series, Troy Soos’ Mickey Rawlings mysteries, and Dan Gutman’s baseball card time travel stories all for Recorded Books. Hopefully the author likes the way you handle his or her characters and it begins somehow more collaborative. 

3. The Postmortal is a thriller about a pre-apocalyptic world in which people cannot die of old age — which must make for an exciting audiobook. Does reading a thriller make the process of recording the audiobook easier because you know readers will be engaged at certain points? Do you ever find yourself getting swept away by the story when you’re narrating a thriller?

I don’t know if I’m any more engaged in a thriller than in a biography or a young adult title. Hopefully, if I’ve done my job, the listener will have no idea that I like one book any more than another. 

Truth be told — of course I like thrillers and funny books more than I like other titles I narrate.  I think the audiobook moves along better and easier if the story is good and the author is good and I love the book. I’ve done lots of medical, motivational, and business titles, but it’s much easier to read a thriller — cuz they’re thrilling! Continue reading