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

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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!

Saturday, June 28, 2014 11:11 am
Classics: Perfect Audiobook Listening! #audiomonth
Posted by: Mary Burkey

Readers’ Advisory expert Joyce Saricks is an audio addict – a perfect combination for suggesting top audiobooks. Here’s what she says in her recent Booklist “At Leasure” column:

Here it is June again, the month we celebrate audiobooks and the pleasures they bring to listeners everywhere. It’s a time when addicts like me would like to make the entire column a platform to share favorite titles and narrators, must-listens from the past year or all time. It has certainly been a good year for audio, more titles published, more genres available, more interesting uses of voice and sound effects to please listeners. Check out my thoughts on trends on the first page of this section. One trend, however, demands special attention: the increase in well-narrated new editions of classics.

Looking for a fresh take on an old favorite? Rather listen to that book you never read in your English class? Need a terrific audio that will satisfy everyone on that upcoming vacation trip? Read Joyce’s whole articl for great listening for all ages! Here’s the link:

Friday, June 27, 2014 12:33 pm
Booklist Names Top Ten Audiobook Biographies for #audiomonth
Posted by: Mary Burkey

Listeners love a good biography, one of the most popular audiobook genres. If you are looking for your next great listen, try the titles on this list, which includes celebrity memoirs, autobiographies and scholarly studies, published over the past two years. You’ll find something perfect for drive-time enjoyment, whether a two hour listen for around town  or one just made for a marathon cross-country trip at 37 hours! One of my personal favorites from last year’s on the list:  Still Foolin’ ’Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys , written & read by Billy Crystal – so funny & heart-warming. Here’s the link to the whole Top Ten list:

Thursday, June 26, 2014 12:49 pm
What’s Trending & Coming Up Next in the Audiobook World? #audiomonth
Posted by: Mary Burkey

Booklist Audio Editor Joyce Saricks reports in on the rapid changes in the audiobook publishing world. From statistics to shifts in popular  genres, there are terrific tidbits of audio insider news to know. Plus, there’s plenty of suggestions as Saricks names great newly published listens for every audio fan. Here’s the link to the article:


If you want to get a sneak peek at upcoming audios, take a look at Booklist‘s compilation of titles to be published this Fall, grouped by adult genre. You’ll also find youth & teen titles included. Although not every title has a narrator listed, there are plenty of star-power readers coming your way. Start placing your orders now to get first pick of hot new audiobooks! Here’s the link:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 12:01 pm
Audiobooks at ALA Vegas Celebrate #audiomonth!
Posted by: Mary Burkey

FREE audiobooks? Join the party at the American Library Association audiobook events during the 2014 Annual Conference!

Learn more about audiobook advisory by dropping into an open meeting of one of these two committees:

Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults: Saturday, June 28, 2014 – 1:00pm to 5:30pm, Flamingo Hotel, Valley of Fire II room. Stop by and listen in as the best in audios for ages 12-18 will be discussed. Here’s the list of nominated titles – a great shopping or listening list!

Notable Children’s Recordings: Saturday, June 28, 2014 – 1:00pm to 5:30pm & Sunday, June 29, 2014 – 1:00pm to 4:00pm, Flamingo Hotel, Reno I room. Drop in to observe the evaluation of audiobooks & musical recordings for ages birth – 14 during this committee’s meetings. Here’s the list of titles that will be discussed:

Get ready to party at these audiobook celebrations:

PopTop Stage: Daniel Kraus, with Kelly Gildea and Kirby Heyborne:  Sunday, June 29, 2014 – 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Las Vegas Convention Center Exhibit Hall – PopTop Stage. Team Scowler - this year’s Odyssey Award-winning producer Kelly Gildea, author Daniel Kraus, and narrator Kirby Heyborne – will have a conversation with Book on Tape’s Marketing Director, Cheryl Herman. Be sure to visit the BOT booth #542 immediately following,  3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m, to meet the author, narrator, and producer and get a FREE audiobook or book signed, courtesy of Random House!

2014 Odyssey Award CeremonyMonday, June 30, 2014 – 3:30pm to 5:30pm, Las Vegas Convention Center, room N256. The Odyssey committee meetings are closed to observers, but the party is a must-do ALA event! Celebrate the best in audiobooks produced for children and young adults at the annual presentation of the Odyssey Award. Listen to your favorite narrators perform a piece from their Odyssey Award-winning audiobooks, then join us for a reception with free snacks & a cash bar sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association following this engaging event. There will be FREE audiobooks for attendees! Here’s the marvelous Odyssey titles that will be featured:

WINNER:  Scowler, written by Daniel Kraus, narrated by Kirby Heyborne, produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group.


Better Nate Than Ever, written by Tim Federle, narrated by Tim Federle and produced by Simon and Schuster Audio.

Creepy Carrots!, written by Aaron Reynolds, narrated by James Naughton and produced by Weston Woods Studios, Inc.

Eleanor & Park, written by Rainbow Rowell, narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra and produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group.

Matilda, written by Roald Dahl, narrated by Kate Winslet and produced by Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Hope to see you in Vegas! And if you can’t attend, here is Kirby Heyborne, narrator of Odyssey Award-winner Scowler, as he rocked the house during the 2012 Odyssey ceremony.

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