Today is the last day of Audiobook Week, and that is sadmaking. Yet, today’s discussion topic is a lot of fun.
Where do you learn about great audiobook titles? Find reviews? Buy your audiobooks? Share your secrets with the rest of us!
I’ll let you in on a little secret, I am not a rich, reclusive millionaire who has an unlimited budget for purchasing audiobooks and the time to listen. Nope, I work for a living, in an industry not well know for its exorbitant wages. Audiobooks are expensive, and my budget is limited, so I have to be creative in order to keep on listening to 15-20 Audiobooks a month. If I was going to purchase all my audiobooks through Audible I would probably spend close to $200 dollars a month. This doesn’t fit nicely into my budget.
My biggest source of Audiobooks is my Public Library and their Overdrive System. Years ago, I also used NetLibrary, but I’m not sure if it even exists anymore since I haven’t used it in well over a year. Here is my trick for Overdrive. I am lucky to live in a major Metropolitan area, with 5 major counties within a drivable distance. At some point in my life I have lived or worked in these counties and have the Library cards to prove it. Also, due to Access PA, many Pennsylvania libraries open membership up to any Pennsylvania resident. This makes the number of titles available to me much greater. Now, part of me wonders if I am gaming the system, so each year I make a donation to all the libraries that I actively use. It’s not a major donation, and in the end it’s much less that if I purchased these titles, but I think it’s a good gesture in an economy where places like Libraries are often the first to experience cuts.
So, the point of this is, get to know your library system. Talk to your librarians. Find out what is available and ask how you can help. Many libraries accept book and audiobook donations, which is a good place to send the books that are cluttering your house.
Now, many book bloggers are used to getting review copies sent to them almost willy nilly. For Audiobooks, it’s a much more careful and deliberate process. Each month I visit all the major Audiobook Publishes and figure out which of their new releases I am interested in. I also have signed up for their newsletters in case I missed something. For many Publishers I have been able to develop a contact person for requesting titles. Some of them have actually contacted me, and others I worked to discover. Yet, I try and work to maintain the relationship, however it gets started. There are a few Publishers, like Penguin Audio, Harper Audio and Simon & Schuster Audio that send out occasionally emails letting bloggers know what titles are available for review. Throughout my efforts I have developed relationship with all but two of the major Audiobook publishers. These relationships have been rewarding in more ways than just free audiobooks, but encouragement, recommendations and promotion as well.
Some tips for dealing with publishers. Only ask for titles that you are truly interested in, and will be able to review in a timely manner. When you do review a title, send a link to your review. Publishers prefer honest reviews over fake positive ones, and I never have had an issue with a negative review affecting my relationship with a publisher. Lastly, for new release titles, try to have your review as close to release date as possible. There is nothing wrong with asking a publisher for advice on when to publish a review to increase buzz. I know I have a few times.
There are a few tools I use to find upcoming audiobooks beyond Publisher Websites. Audiofile puts out a list of New Releases that usually cover a two or three month period that is searchable by genre and Publisher. Be careful with this because sometimes the info is not totally accurate. It helps to double check any info with the individual publishers. I love Overdrives classic search. Its new search sucks, but the classic search is still available at this link. Finally, Fantastic Fiction has an Audiobook New Release search filter that I use often. Just remember that this information is for releases in the UK, and it’s not always accurate for the US.
Finally, I want to thank Jen from Devourer of Books for hosting this event. It’s incredibly rewarding to see the passion for audiobooks taking hold. Thanks to everyone who has participated. Feel free to hit me up on twitter, or send me an email or Facebook Message if you ever have any questions about Audiobooks, or just want to chat.
An Interview with Audiobook Narrator Michael Goldstrom