Audiobook Week 2012: Listen Up!

29 06 2012

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.

Also Today:

An Interview with Audiobook Narrator Michael Goldstrom

A Review of Leviathan By Scott Westerfeld read by Alan Cummings

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10 responses

29 06 2012
Listen Up! Final day of Audiobook Week 2012 #JIAM « Bay State Reader's Advisory: Suggestions from a Massachusetts Librarian

[…] That’s cheating to have a three-word answer when everyone else (including Bob at The Guilded Earlobe) is writing thoughtful, detailed posts? OK, so for audiobook reviews and suggestions, I also go to: […]

29 06 2012
BarkLessWagMore (@FMMFC)

This is a fabulous post! Thank you for all of the great into, I did secretly think you were a trust fund baby because I know how much all of these audios cost. Now I get it. I borrow most of my audiobooks from the library and their overdrive system. My librarians know me by name and think I’m a little nuts (they may be on to something there). If I had to buy them I’d be completely broke.

29 06 2012
DevourerofBooks (@DevourerofBooks)

I love that you give donations to all the other libraries you use. And I, too, am excited at how much more excitement Audiobook Week generates every year, yay for people getting excited about audiobooks!

29 06 2012
WordsAndPeace

same thing for me with the library. Netlibrary is no longer available in mine, but replaced by the fantastic OneClick Digital. to get audiobooks from publishers to review, the best for me is to go through Audiobook Jukebox. see link on my post: http://wordsandpeace.com/2012/06/29/listen-up-audiobook-week-discussion/

29 06 2012
Michelle Erin (@michelleerin)

I am determined to figure out Overdrive one of these days. I usually get the cds and put them on my computer. Which is nice since I can then listen on my own schedule, but is also time-consuming.

2 07 2012
BarkLessWagMore (@FMMFC)

Overdrive is easy once you have it all set up and if you have a portable device. Also, even though the Overdrive states an “expired date”, I’ve discovered that once it has been transferred to your device you can listen to it after the expiration date. If you don’t transfer the audio before the expiration date you’ll have to borrow it again from overdrive though.

29 06 2012
Trish

Well you are one popular bloke! I’m here via audiobook week and the many many recommendations of your blog from the other participants. I’m new to the audiobook world but so appreciate how it has allowed me to experience my books when I don’t have the time (or more accurately energy) to pick up my book at the end of the day. I appreciate your candid advice and am wishing that Texas had an Access Texas program! Or maybe they do and I’m just not aware.

29 06 2012
Jennifer Conner (@LitHousewife)

I’ve had no luck with Overdrive, personally. I’ve not really had the overwhelming urge to get it to, though. My audiobook consumption is much less than yours, so the few titles I pick up from publishers, my Audible credits, and what’s on my library’s shelves keep me well stocked.

I agree with everything you say about publishers. I have contacts for both print and audio. Many print publishers are very nice, but there’s something special about those who work in audiobooks. 🙂

Thanks for make this audiobook week so much fun.

29 06 2012
Kristilyn

Great post! Thanks for all the information on contacting publishers about obtaining review copies of audiobooks. Personally, I feel so new to audiobooks that I’m nowhere near that point, but at least it’s nice to know what to do.

I totally hear you about the money … I spend way too much as it is on books that I really could use a little extra income!

30 06 2012
christina

Thanks for giving me the heads up about Hvam and the titles only being available on Audibles. I plan on subscribing once I get back to school in the fall. (I can ignore my meetings and listen to books instead, heh. Or that’s the plan).

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