Audiobook Blog – Audiobooker, by Mary Burkey – Booklist Online
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Audiobook Blog - Audiobooker, by Mary Burkey - Booklist Online


A Booklist Blog
Mary Burkey, a teacher, librarian, and audiobook addict, writes about listening, learning, and the joy of headsets

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 6:18 am
Coming soon to an event near you: Audiobookmobile
Posted by: Mary Burkey


How cool is this? The Audio Publishers Association is taking the show on the road. What a great opportunity for public libraries to highlight their audiobook collection. The initiative was announced on Shelf Awareness, with a listing of five upcoming locations. I’ll get the whole scoop for you ASAP, along with contact information for libraries eager to get on the appearance schedule.

Here’s the complete announcement:

Audiobookmobile to Make First Tour

Created by the Audio Publishers Association and the marketing agency GoGORILLA Media, an Audiobookmobile is traveling to five cities between August 30 and September 27 to introduce new listeners to audio and encourage readers to “take a listen to their next book.” The APA calls this its biggest ever consumer awareness campaign.

The Audiobookmobile makes its debut at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., on August 30, then appears at Baltimore Comic Con on September 6; at the Darien, Conn., Public Library on September 13; at the Brooklyn Book Festival on September 21; and at the Free Library of Philadelphia on September 27.

The exterior of the Audiobookmobile has large headphone graphics and the campaign’s slogan: “A Good Book Speaks Volumes.” The truck has speakers and a video screen to broadcast audio and video clips from the recording studio. There’s a spot for a photo op: one side of the truck asks attendees to fill in the blank “I love audiobooks because…” and share their reasons via social media using the hashtag #listenlit.

At each stop, volunteers from APA member publishers and GoGORILLA Media will talk with consumers about audiobooks and offer free downloads. Attendees will be able to spin a prize wheel mounted on the side of the Audiobookmobile for a chance to win giveaways, including headphones, T-shirts, buttons, posters and more.

Monday, August 4, 2014 2:02 pm
In the Audiobook Studio with Jon Scieszka
Posted by: Mary Burkey

Former National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature Jon Scieszka gives an insider’s look at the audiobook recording process in this sneak peek video captured while the author narrated Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor. Scieszka is a huge audiobook fan – his “Guys Read” website created by Listening Library has tons of ideas for parents & teachers utilizing audio to enhance the literacy of both reluctant and avid readers’ interest. Plus kids & teens will find lots of terrific suggested listening, too. Be sure to visit Scieszka’s “Guys Read” site as well!

Friday, August 1, 2014 3:51 pm
Freebie Friday – Three great audiobooks for kids & adults
Posted by: Mary Burkey

Fill your car with great vacation listening! Two classics & one brand-new YA title – all perfect for family listening for those with older tweens & teens.

This week’s titles for SYNC must be downloaded by August 6th, so grab these quick:

DIVIDED WE FALL by Trent Reedy, read by Andrew Eiden & others, published by Scholastic Audio. Danny Wright never thought he’d be the man to bring down the United States of America. In fact, he enrolled in the National Guard because he wanted to serve his country the way his father did. When the Guard is called up on the governor’s orders to police a protest in Boise, it seems like a routine crowd-control mission . . . but then Danny’s gun misfires, spooking the other soldiers and the already fractious crowd. By the time the smoke clears, twelve people are dead. The president wants the soldiers arrested. The governor swears to protect them. And as tensions build on both sides, the conflict slowly escalates toward the unthinkable: a second American civil war. With political questions that are popular in American culture yet rare in YA fiction, and a plot that’s both excitingly provocative and frighteningly plausible, Divided We Fall is Trent Reedy’s very timely YA debut. Download here:

THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE by Stephen Crane, read by Frank Muller, published by Recorded Books.  At the time he wrote The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane had never witnessed a battle. Crane’s older brother fought in the Battle of Chancellorsville, however, and Crane listened carefully to his brother’s reminiscences. The result is the classic Civil War novel, and one of the greatest stories of all time. Henry Fleming was always playing soldier at home on the farm. Now, on the battlefield, shells burst in front of him like strange flowers, gunfire rips toward him in great crackling sheets of flame, and all around him, blue-coated figures lie still on the blood-drenched grass. The Battle of Chancellorsville has begun. Stephen Crane’s most famous work stands alone as the testimony of a young man compelled to mature during a bloody Civil War battle. Download here:

Thanks to these generous audiobook producers for making these terrific titles available for FREE!

Christian Audio offers the free audio below for the entire month of August:

ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM: The Book That Inspired the Musical and Film The King and I, by Margaret Landon, read by Anne Flosnik. Anna Leonowens, a proper Englishwoman, was an unlikely candidate to change the course of Siamese (Thai) history. A young widow and mother, her services were engaged in the 1860′s by King Mongkut of Siam to help him communicate with foreign governments and be the tutor to his children and favored concubines. Stepping off the steamer from London, Anna found herself in an exotic land she could have only dreamed. It was a lush landscape of mystic faiths and curious people, and king’s palace bustling with royal pageantry, ancient custom, and harems. One of her pupils, the young prince Chulalongkorn, was particularly influenced by Leonowens and her Western ideals. He learned about Abraham Lincoln and the tenets of democracy from her, and years later he would become Siam’s most progressive king. He guided the country’s transformation from a feudal state to a modern society, abolishing slavery and making many other radical reforms. Download here:



Wednesday, July 30, 2014 12:20 pm
Today-only Free Audiobooks!
Posted by: Mary Burkey


Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde + Headstrong. Two terrific FREE audiobook titles perfect for classroom or commute! Here’s the link:

Grab Headstrong by Patrick Link, read by Deidrie Henry, Ernie Hudson, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, & Scott Wolf and published by L.A. Theatre Works. In the wake of increasing concern over brain trauma in professional athletes, Patrick Link has crafted a story about a retired NFL linebacker who must deal with a family tragedy and his own suffering because of the violence of his chosen sport. Includes a conversation about brain injuries and sports with Dr. Robert Cantu, the Senior Advisor to the NFL Head, Neck, and Spine Committee. Lots of great classroom connections or straight-from-the-headlines sports-fan interest here!

Plus this AWESOME classic freebie: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, read by Scott Brick, and published by Tantor Audio. Download TODAY and save for the next time you need a great listen!

Tomorrow there’ll be two more free audios on the SYNC website,  Check out this great promotion that ends August 13th – still plenty of time to load up that MP3 player with fantastic FREE listening!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 3:59 pm
News you can use: Audiobook Round-up
Posted by: Mary Burkey

news clip art

Here’s a mega-roundup of all things audiobook online and in the news – sixteen sweet links to explore!

I love when a narrator is given the local rock star treatment by the local press. Check out this article highlighting the career of Karen White. Lady of 1,000 voices: Audiobook narrator brings famous authors’ works to life, by Ben Steelman from the Wilmington, NC Star News Online:

Book Riot continues to shine a light on audiobooks, with this short piece Confessions of a Newbie Audiobook Listener, by Swapna Krishna – great to keep in mind while doing audiobook advisory:

For those gearing up for Back to School – check out Sharon Grover & Liz Hannegan’s continuing School Library Journal audiobook column “Listen In,”  this month focusing on Audiobooks: Ideal for Transmedia Explorations of Narratives:

Here’s another local news feature on audiobooks. The Burlington Free Press shares Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands author Chris Bohjalian’s love for all thing audiobooks in Idyll Banter: We never outgrow being read to:

OverDrive Media’s blog has a great Prezi how-to perfect for libraries or audio fans looking to expand typical book club programing in Create a Digital Book Club:

Here’s another terrific book club idea from LibraryCity & David Rothman – Cell Phone Book Clubs: A New Way for Libraries to Promote Literacy, Technology, Family, and Community:

And I found this quick link where the Moorhead Library in Fargo ND created a Audiobook Listeners MeetUp group to promote their audiobook club – great idea!

Even Forbes magazing is getting in on the audiobook boom with Deborah L. Jacob’s Listening To Audiobooks While You Do Something Else Is The Ultimate In Multitasking:

I love to see audiobook review columns in major newspapers! Here’s Gail Pennington in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch highlighting five new titles (all in my current listening stack!) – Rainbow Rowell’s ‘Landline’ makes a connection on audio:

Findaway’s Tattle blog by Erin Cosyn also has a Landline theme with Author and Narrator Dual Interview: Rainbow Rowell & Rebecca Lowman (perfect timing, as that’s what’s in my headphones right now):

And then there’s The Washington Post with four audiobooks in the Book Review section – A buffet of darker themes, skillfully served as audiobooks by Katherine A. Powers:

USA Today focuses on an interesting story – Joshilyn Jackson, author of Someone Else’s Love Story, narrates the audiobook of How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer in Joshilyn Jackson on narrating a good friend’s audiobook  by Joyce Lamb:

Business Insider takes a look at the nuts & bolts of the audiobook business by featuring narrator Renee Raudman in Famous Narrator Takes Us Inside One Of The World’s Coolest Jobs by Jacquelyn Smith:

You’ll find a ton of new audiobook titles for your listen list in Elizabeth Blumele’s PW column Lend Us Your Ears: What Shall We Listen to Next? as well as the suggestions in the comment section:

Publishers Weekly also has this article on the art & craft of audiobook narration, focusing on the Deyan Institute, Joe Ryan’s Finding Your Voice:

Curious about the Audies Award process? The Audio Publishers Association outlines the criteria & judging of the completion in the Wondering how Audie winners are chosen? blog post:

Guess this proves that audiobooks are always a hot topic – not just during the June is Audiobook Month promotion! But if you are thirsting for more audio news, just search for the #audiomonth hashtag on Twitter for the tsunami of audio awesomeness from last month ;-)




Tuesday, July 8, 2014 8:49 am
In memoriam: Helen Ditlow
Posted by: Mary Burkey

So sad to learn of the passing of Helen Ditlow, co-founder of Listening Library with husband Anthony in 1955, a true audiobook pioneer & 2005 Audio Publishers Association Lifetime Acheivement Award-winner. Condolences to son Tim Ditlow & the rest of her family. Here is her complete obituary:

Helen Peterson Ditlow
Born in Chicago, Illinois on Dec. 17, 1921 and Departed on Jun. 26, 2014

Service: Saturday, Jul. 19, 2014 2:00 pm

SAVANNAH – Helen Peterson Ditlow, cherished mother and grandmother, passed away peacefully at her home on June 26, 2014. She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 36 years Anthony Ditlow.
She was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 17, 1921 to William E. and Mary Masek Peterson. Following graduation from Iowa State University, she joined Armour & Company’s research and development lab. At Armour & Co. she met Anthony Ditlow, who worked in the sales division and they quickly started a courtship and married in 1954. Several years after their marriage, the couple moved to Connecticut with their two young children.
When an inflammation of the optic nerves left Anthony blind in 1955, Helen became the family manager and all-around cheerleader. Turning to the Library of Congress’s Recordings for the Blind to satisfy a shared love of literature, the couple realized that sighted people also enjoyed a good audio-story. In 1955 they launched Listening Library, which became America’s preeminent publisher of unabridged children’s audiobooks. While her husband directed recording sessions and marketed the audiobooks, she designed album jackets, packed and shipped records, and kept the books. The first title was Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. In an interview with AudioFile magazine celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary, Helen recalled: “It was uncanny, because that was the year the movie version with David Niven came out. Our recording just took off.”
In 1986, attracted by Savannah’s beauty and culture, Helen and Tony decided to retire to The Landings. Instead of relaxing into retirement, Helen found new outlets for her energy. She became more involved with the P.E.O. Sisterhood, a membership philanthropy that supports women’s education and professional advancement, and raised funds for P.E.O.’s Cottey College. Long a collector of antique furniture, she became a docent for Savannah’s Andrew Low House museum. She also volunteered at the Skidaway Island Presbyterian Church. Later, when she moved to The Marshes, she arranged the flowers for the community area and indulged her passion for bridge several times a week. For all of her multiple accomplishments, she was most proud of her children and grandchildren.
Helen Ditlow is survived by her sister Florence Larson of Eden Prairie, Minnesota; son Tim (Melissa) of Westport, Connecticut and his children Matthew (Lynette) and Henry Ditlow; and daughter Michele Ditlow-Roache of Charlotte, North Carolina and her children Kenton, Kaitlin, and Corbin Roache. The family expresses gratitude for the love and care of Dr. Pugh and his staff, everyone at The Marshes, especially the support of the nursing assistants who allowed her to remain in her home surrounded by her family and memories of a life well lived.
The service will be held at Skidaway Island Presbyterian Church on Saturday, July 19th, at 2:00.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Helen P. Ditlow’s name to Cottey College, 1000 W. Austin, Nevada, MO 64772 or the Skidaway Island Presbyterian Church, 50 Diamond Causeway, Savannah, GA 31411.

Monday, July 7, 2014 1:16 pm
Kirby Heyborne rocks the Odyssey Awards – again!
Posted by: Mary Burkey


Watch the amazing video of his rap “Ain’t Nobody Change the World Like a Librarian.” It was a librarian love fest  at the 2014 Odyssey Award celebration on June 30th at ALA’s Las Vegas conference, as Heyborne topped his previous original composition performed at the 2012 Odyssey celebration. The crowd sported Team Scowler masks as narrator Kirby Heyborne, author Daniel Kraus, and producer/director Kelly Gildea all shared their experiences creating the 2014 Odyssey-winner Scowler. Thanks to the fabulous speakers – Team Scowler, plus presentations from all of the Odyssey Honor recipientsBetter Nate Than Ever author/narrator Tim Federle, Creepy Carrot narrator James Naughton via video, Eleanor & Park narrators Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra, and a letter from Matilda narrator Kate Winslet (read by Dan Zitt). Terrific choices by Odyssey Chair Ellen Spring & her committee, aided by Booklist consultant Rebecca Vnuk. Watch the video and see why the Odyssey Celebration & the reception sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association has become the perfect must-attend, end-of-conference, audiobook lovefest!


I’ll try to get the lyrics to Kirby’s song, just in case you’d like to make your own version! And check out the crowd of librarians sporting Scowler masks at the top of the post. Thankfully, publisher Random House Audio/Listening Library captured the picture at the top of this post and this video for posterity, as my own film-making skills were overshadowed by my enthusiastic participation ;-)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 11:21 am
Fabulous July 4th Freebie: Download audiobook of U.S. Constitution & Declaration of Independence.
Posted by: Mary Burkey


But hurry! Deadline is July 3rd at 10:59 am. Here’s the link to get your FREE copy of primary sources from Random House Audio: the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States:


Monday, June 30, 2014 10:05 am
#Audies2014 audiobook give-away to celebrate the end of #audiomonth
Posted by: Mary Burkey


More than ringing bells & kettles, there’s plenty of business wisdom in Leadership Secrets of the Salvation Army, written by Robert Watson & Ben Brown and read by Bob Souer. The 2014 Audes Award judges named Leadership Secrets the top business / educational audiobook of the year, and publisher eChristian would like to celebrate with a FREE give-away of the title. A perfect way to close out “June is Audiobook Month!” I was honored to kick off the Audio Publishers Association’s annual celebration of the fast-growing audio segment of the publishing industry with a give-away of 2014′s Audiobook of the Year, Billy Crystal’s Still Foolin’ ‘Em. Congratuations to Jez of My Life in the Library – she is the winner of Still Foolin’ ‘Em.

If you’d like to win Leadership Secrets of the Salvation Army, just leave a comment with your favorite audiobook genre or narrator – or both! I’ll pick a winner when I return home from the American Library Association, where I’ll be attending these events and stalking the audio publishers’ booth on the hunt for upcoming great listens. So click the “leave a response” link and add your comment below!

Click here to check out the whole list of 2014 Audies winners & nominees. If you’d like more audiobook awesomeness from this year’s audio celebration, search for #audiomonth and #Audies2014 and follow Audiobook Community on both Facebook and Twitter. Here’s more about Leadership Secrets of the Salvation Army, plus the complete list of Audies Award nominees in the Business/Education category.

Business guru Peter Drucker referred to the Salvation Army as “The most effective organization in the U.S”. The Salvation Army has long been revered for it’s passionate adherence to it’s mission and purpose of delivering humanitarian and spiritual aid to anyone, no matter who they are. In this important book, former commissioner of the Salvation Army in the U.S. Robert Watson outlines those principles that not only guide that organization, but also can apply to companies, ministries and organizations anywhere.

The Everything Store by Brad Stone. Narrated by Peter Larkin. Hachette Audio
The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance by Russell D. Roberts. Narrated by Kirby Heyborne. Audible, Inc.
Leadership Secrets of the Salvation Army. by Robert Watson & Ben Brown. Narrated by Bob Souer. eChristian
Leading Apple with Steve Jobs by Jay Elliot. Narrated by Richard Davidson. Audible, Inc.
Naked Statistics; by Charles Wheelan; Narrated by Jonathan Davis; Audible, Inc.
Without Their Permission by Alexis Ohanian. Narrated by Alexis Ohanian. Hachette Audio

Sunday, June 29, 2014 10:10 am
Odyssey Award-winning Team Scowler #audiomonth #alaac14
Posted by: Mary Burkey

What does it take to strike Odyssey gold twice? I was fortunate to interview the core group behind TWO Odyssey Award-winnersDaniel Kraus, author of both 2014 Odyssey winner Scowler and 2012 Odyssey winner Rotters, Listening Library’s Executive Acquisitions Editor Rebecca Waugh, plus narrator Kirby Heyborne and producer/director Kelly Gildea, the duo who translated both of Kraus’ works into hauntingly horrific soundscapes. Read my whole interview here:

If you are in Las Vegas for the ALA Annual Conference be sure to attend the Odyssey Award Celebration tomorrow, Monday June 30, 2014 – 3:30pm to 5:30pm, Las Vegas Convention Center, room N256. If you’re at home, watch the video below to get a taste of this terrifying title. So deliciously creepy!

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