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Susan G. Baird

Audiobook Collections & Services

Susan Baird

Highsmith Press Handbook Series

Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin

As in all such situations, there are a number of people and organizations that deserve a thank you for one reason or another. The following are mine: Oak Lawn Public Library, particularly Kathy and Lorraine; Robin Whitten of Audiofile for allowing me to review for her splendid magazine. Ive learned so much from reviewing audiobooks, from the magazine, and from Robin herself; The other journals and tools that youll find mentioned all were invaluable to me in meeting my audiobook responsibilities. And to my friends, especially Tom, who never (usually) let on that they tire of the reviews and booktalks of my latest audiobook finds; And, finally, many, many, many thanks to Dr. Don, my super typist!

Published by Highsmith Press LLC W5527 Highway 106 P.O. Box 800 Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538-0800 1-800-558-2110 Susan G. Baird, 2000 Cover by Debra Neu Sletten All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Except as permitted under the United States Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher. The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Science Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Material. ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Baird, Susan, 1948Audiobook collections & services / Susan Baird. p. cm. -- (Highsmith Press handbook series) ISBN 1-57950-034-X (alk. paper) 1. Libraries--Special collections--Audiobooks. 2. Libraries--Special collections--Audiocassettes. 3. Audiobooks--Collectors and collecting.--United States. 4. Audiocassettes--Collectors and collecting.--United States. I. Title: Audiobook collections and services. II. Title. III. Series.. Z692.S72 B35 2000 025.17'82--dc21 00-009374 CIP

Introduction 1. A Brief History of Audiobooks 2. Planning Audiobook Collections & Services 3. Audiobook Selection Principles 4. Acquiring, Processing & Maintaining Audiobooks 5. Narrators & Narration 6. Public Service Policies & Procedures 7. Marketing Methods for Audiobooks 8. Evaluating Audiobook Collections & Services 9. Future Trends Appendices A. Audiobook Publishers & Distributors B. Suppliers of Audio-Related Equipment & Materials C. Books and Journals D. Audiobook Classics E. Childrens Audiobooks F. Young Adult Audiobooks G. Adult Fiction Audiobooks H. Adult Nonfiction Audiobooks I. Audiobook Award Winners J. Oak Lawn Public Library Selection Policy Statement Index 61 65 66 67 69 71 73 76 78 80 84 5 9 12 18 25 32 37 42 48 56


books are so effective on tape that theyre arguably better heard than read.
The New Yorker

Any book worth reading is worth reading aloud.

from the play Dorothy L.: A Dramatic Portrait of Dorothy L. Sayers by Catherine Kenney

For the serious reader, there never seems to be enough time for all of the books that weve discovered at the library or the bookstore. Even if we forsake television and the computer, all of our other responsibilities consume too much of our time, leaving us without an opportunity to read. The development of books on audiocassette has changed this. By using this format, it is now possible to listen to books while commuting, doing yard work, exercising, or doing any task that permits us to wear headphones. While listening is more passive than reading, it is no less enjoyable. And, the format is not a threat to reading. Listening, like reading, is a very solitary activity. However, it must not be forgotten that audiobook fans are, first and always, great lovers of books and reading. As audiobooks have increased in popularity, more and more titles have been produced. Libraries continue to add them to their audiobook collections, and circulation has risen each year. Because audiobooks appeal to many persons who previously did not use libraries, the availability of this format in libraries has increased the percentage of the community who now use libraries, representing another unexpected bonus. Library collections of audiobooks are greatly appreciated, since few people have the funds or desire to purchase them for themselves. For the audiobook listener, the news keeps improvingthe quality of the format is better, new titles are being released more rapidly, and some audiobook narrators are becoming celebrities because of their ability to bring a book to life.

Universal Guide
This book is intended to serve as a basic guide to those who are beginning an audiobook collection. Although the emphasis is on public libraries, many of the recommended procedures and policies can be applied in other types of libraries, as well as in institutions of various sizes. The core collection recommendations should be adaptable to any size budget and type of user. Much of what Ive included in this handbook is universal and should prove helpful to anyone working with audiobooks. I have included procedures, policies, and programs that I successfully tested in the Oak Lawn Public Library (IL), where I have responsibility for the development and administration of the audiobook collection and program. I have also included details of policies and procedures that we found did not work well. My goal is to share my experience with audiobooks, so that others who are developing or strengthening a similar collection and service can benefit from my experience.

6 Chapter Summaries
This handbook contains nine chapters. Chapter 1 includes a brief history of audio as it evolved from storytelling onward. The influence of the Library of Congress talking book program is highlighted. Finally, the Audio Publishers Association (APA) and its importance to the audio industry and libraries is outlined. In Chapter 2 you will find parallels between library mission statements and long-range plans that demonstrate how perfectly audiobooks fit into a librarys collection. Methods to gather patron information and actual patron comments on audiobooks are included. Statistics on the most popular audiobook subjects and genres close the chapter. Chapter 3 is devoted to the special factors that need to be considered in selecting and ordering audiobooks. The main criteria to bear in mind are: rent or buy; abridged versus unabridged; and fiction or nonfiction. Children, young adult and adult ideas are also outlined. Thoughts and possible compromises for some situations are offered. Narrators and accents are also included. Chapter 4 really gets down to the fine points such as: how often to order; whether to use a continuous order plan or not, and the thorniest issue (for librarians and publishers both) replacement of individual tapes. We also get into repairing versus returning problem cassettes. Sources for purchasing used audiobooks conclude the chapter. One of my favorite subjects is narration, and I cover this in some detail in Chapter 5. Narrators and the quality of their narrations are vital to audiobook popularity. I have summarized the various types of narrations and described some of the best I have heard. The place of celebrity names in this market is also discussed. Based on information from the American Library Association, audiobooks are not a frequent target for censors. Since the Oak Lawn Public Library established its audiobook collection in 1988, there has never been a censorship complaint. I have, however, provided sample forms and procedures for such an occurrence in Chapter 6. In addition, I have included other policies and procedures pertaining to our audiobook collection that might be of interest to other libraries. Chapter 7 is devoted to marketing the audiobook collection. This is much easier today than it was a few years ago, when people didnt know what audiobooks were. Learning about APAs Audiobook Month is also a valuable way to jump on a relatively free promotional band wagon. The same can be said of the many well-known awards that are presented to audiobooks. All of these are introduced in this section. I have included a modest list of program suggestions, and shared my personal experience in running a group that discussed audiobooks. Evaluation is an important element of every library collection and service, and I have produced some suggestions in Chapter 8. In addition to the more common procedures such as analyzing circulation statistics, I believe user surveys and interviews are valuable in refining the librarys collection development policy. To illustrate what can be learned from our users, I have

Audiobook Collections & Services


included the results of a small survey of library patrons. Looking into the future is harder now than ever before, because we live in a time of vast and potentially swift changes. In Chapter 9, I have attempted to highlight what was new or evolving as I wrote this book. However, I do not claim to have any sort of crystal ball regarding the audiobook and its impact on future library services. I believe in its future, although I am aware that information and entertainment formats continuously evolve. I have also assembled several useful appendices containing current lists of audiobook publishers and distributors, sources of audiobook-related supplies and equipment, review journals, reference books, and lists of classics and award-winning audiobooks. I hope you will enjoy referring to this book nearly as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Happy audiobook collecting and listening!

A Brief History of Audiobooks

Audiobooks really grow from the melding of two familiar forms of entertainment and communication, one age-old and the other relatively recent. The old and familiar one is storytelling, part of an oral tradition that has included folktales, drama and poetry, entertaining, and informing while passing along the history, life experiences, and traditions of each generation to the next. The recent form is the audiotape. Even after Gutenberg invented the printing press in the fifteenth century, people continued to attend public readings and dramatic plays to enjoy the telling of news and stories. Our most beloved authors, such as Charles Dickens and Mark Twain, often went on tour and attracted large audiences for their readings. In this chapter, I have attempted to summarize the evolution of several audio formats, with a special emphasis on the precursors of the audiobook and the evolution of audio technology. Pioneers such as Emile Berliner and Thomas Edison made the tape player a feasible option for everyone. Many different technical refinements were required and many individuals and nations contributed to the tape players popularity. The Sony Walkman played an important role. The Walkman recently celebrated its 20th birthday. This humble invention changed both the way we listen and the very way we live. The tremendous popularity of the Walkman was a big reason why audiobooks became an essential resource available in thousands of bookstores and libraries. It should not be surprising to learn that many audiobook companies began in the late 1970s and early 1980s, concurrent with the boom of audiocassettes. The Audio Publishers Association (APA) has also had a strong influence on the industry since 1986. The APA adopted the term audiobook for the format. Prior to that time, these resources had many different names including talking books. This chapter also includes a number of statistics that will provide further insight into the role that audiobooks play in our lives today.

Chronology of Sound Technology

Thomas Edison begins experiments with sound recording and produces a cylindrical tinfoil phonograph. Emile Berliner becomes the first person to use a disk to produce recordings. Many copies could be made from one master.


1940s Records are popular despite wartime shortages. 1979 Sony Walkman makes its way to U.S. from Japan and revolutionizes listening habits.

1980s Audiobooks enter mainstream America.

Talking Books
By an act of Congress, the National Library Service (NLS) for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (BPH) began offering recorded reading materials and playback machines to the blind in 1931. All materials were sent by mail and postage was free. The term talking books was adopted by the Library of Congress in 1932. In 1952, the NLS included juvenile materials in their holdings. People with other reading-related impairments were granted access to NLS resources in 1966. The service was not intended for people who did not have disabilities. A verification of need was, and still is, required to participate. The directive given to BPH narrators was to achieve

linguistic neutrality, combined with warm humanity, good taste, and restraint. In the 1950s, independent of the NLS, phonograph records were made by authors such as Robert Frost, Dylan Thomas and T.S. Eliot. The authors read from their own works, and the recordings gained modest popularity. These are now great collectors items, and many have been reproduced into modern formats. Foreign language instructional tapes found a market with schools and libraries. During the 1960s, many self-help gurus broadened their audience by producing audiotapes of their lectures.1 Cassette tape players for cars and Walkman units for walkers and joggers contributed to cassette sales. Producers began looking for other content and applications, and a new way of reading was born. Initially these books were produced in an abridged form. Public radio featured some new audiobooks, which helped further promote this new format to the listening audience. Many agree that libraries really helped the audiobook industry in its early days. Libraries grasped the concept long before book and music stores in the U.S. added the format to their stock. Libraries unhesitatingly added audiobooks to their collections first as records then as cassettes. Abridgements were most common early on. Interestingly, Tim Ditlow, president of Listening Library credits libraries with supporting and helping young adult audiobooks survive.2 After businesses saw how popular and profitable audiobooks could be, some audiobooks were offered in retail stores. Today, retailers are still somewhat reluctant to stock many unabridged titles, but things are slowly progressing. And, there are even stores that specialize in audiobooks, and most of these have rental programs.

Audiobook Collections & Services

In the 1950s, Caedmon, (now Harper) released the first general-use audiobooks. They were: Isaac Asimovs Audio Collection Robert Frost's Poetry Collection T.S. Eliots The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Other Poems Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales

Early Audiobook Companies

The format grew in popularity during the mid-to-late nineteen seventies, and new companies specializing in audiobooks began to emerge: Books on Tape began in 1975, Recorded Books in 1979, and Chivers in 1980. In 1982, the Ingram Book Company began offering books on tape to its customers. In 1983, Waldenbooks began selling audiobooks with its regular stock. This valuable exposure was seen as a stamp of approval for the format. During these early years, orders increased dramatically. The first audiobooks to be released in the nineteen seventies and eighties were mainly classics (and done by multiple companies), fiction, history, adventure. some examples, The Blue Nile, Ultimate North, The Great Railway Bazaar, Call of the Wild, Slay Ride, Walden, and many more.

The production of audiobooks for young adults is not a new concept.The idea started in the 1950s when Listening Library began releasing audiotapes of novels that young adults preferred. Early titles included Lord of the Flies,The Martian Chronicles, and titles by Twain, Poe, and O. Henry. As the years passed, Robert Cormier, S.E. Hinton, and Judy Blume joined the ranks of authors whose books were very popular and appropriate in audio format for teens. These books were of exceptional quality and substance, and narrators could add drama to their readings.

The Birth of the APA

The Audio Publishers Association (APA) was organized in 1986 with 12 members; there are now over 200 members. The organization is dedicated to developing standards for the publishers of audiobooks. In 1997, APA officially adopted the term audiobook as the accepted term for recorded books/books on tape. The APA works to promote awareness of the audiobook industry, gather and disseminate industry statistics, and sponsors an annual trade show (during which the Audie Awards are presented).

A Brief History of Audiobooks

APA Membership Information
Audio Publishers Association 627 Aviation Way Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 Phone: 310-372-5046 E-mail :

Audiobooks are a popular and growing format. As evidence, an APA survey undertaken in 1999 found that 21 percent of American households listen to recorded books. The listening is done 44 percent of the time in the car, 37 percent at home, and 16 percent while participating in some form of exercise. Additionally, 41 percent of people who listen to audiobooks obtain most of their books from the library. It is reported that from 1990 to 1998 their cumulative sales growth was 360 percent. Today, audio publishing is a $1.7 billion industry.3
Notes 1. Books for Blind and Physically Handicapped Individuals. Library of Congress Facts (Library of Congress, 1999). 2. Tim Ditlow, Young Adults and Audiobooksthe Lost Generation. Kliatt (January, 1999) pp. 4-5. 3. Growth of Audiobook Industry, APA Newsletter (March, 1999) p. 6.

Planning Audiobook Collections & Services

A wise approach to any collection planning is to start by agreeing upon a mission statement. I'll review the relationship between audiobooks and most libraries mission statements and long-range plans. Then, Ill address the criticism that the audiobook serves as a substitute or threat to reading. I also include some examples to illustrate how audiobooks fit with the library's strategic plan, results from a recent survey of library users, the appeal audiobooks hold for special users as well as sources to fill these demands. I also cover money matters and ideas on how to most efficiently purchase audiobooks, and statistics on the most popular subjects and genres.

Filling a Need
The audiobook is a major resource that is now considered part of core library service. In many libraries, audiobooks circulate more frequently than any other format, and libraries fill a major need by acquiring and circulating these resources, since they are often the only source in most communities.

Mission Statements and Audiobooks

I believe that most library mission statements are very similar. They all basically describe the librarys role as a provider of information and ideas, in a variety of formats, on subjects appropriate for the current and future needs of their community. In this context, audiobooks contribute to the librarys mission, for they offer library users another option. For those persons who lack the opportunity to read a printed book, audiobooks offer another access point or gateway to information or entertainment. The following mission statement illustrates how perfectly an audiobook collection fits into almost any size and type of library in America, and contributes to its mission. Sample Mission Statement: 1) To assemble, preserve, and administer in organized collections, information in a variety of formats to serve the educational and recreational needs of the community; 2) To promote and stimulate the communication of ideas, fostering enlightened citizenship, and enrich personal lives; 3) To encourage and provide all citizens the opportunity and resources for lifelong learning. In each of these three points, it should be evident that audiobooks fit perfectly. They offer content in a popular format. They enrich learning by presenting fact and fiction enhanced by the skills of the narrator. They


Planning Audiobook Collections & Services


offer readers an opportunity to enjoy a good book during activities such as driving or exercising where it would be difficult or impossible to read a printed book. Most libraries also have collection development policies designed to complement their mission statements. Despite their different format, audiobooks should fit easily into existing collection development policies. As previously stated, audiobooks are available on virtually every subject, and they are produced for every age level or category of user. Qualitative standards developed for print publications are equally applicable for audiobooks. To illustrate this, consider the following collection development statement, which I believe is typical of those adopted by many public libraries. Sample Mission Statement: Materials selected for the librarys collection shall meet the educational and recreation interests and needs of the people of this community. To fulfill this purpose the library endeavors to maintain a collection of representative materials of permanent value and current interest.1 Regardless of the size of the library, there is nothing in this statement that should exclude audiobooks from the institutions collection. Audiobooks do contribute to the educational and recreational needs of the community, and quality productions are available that would be of both permanent value and current interest. By listening to an audiobook, young or beginning readers can avoid confusion about pronunciation and meaning. This can be the critical ingredient to improved reading skills confidence. I believe that audiobooks are not a substitute for reading, but are a way to read more at times when you cannot sight read. Audiobooks also offer the ability to listen to something youve read and loved and now want to hear. In some cases, people are inclined to listen to something that they would never read. Audiobooks invite people to take risks. They are often more willing to listen to a book on a difficult subject than to read it.

The Role of Your Audiobooks Collection

The first step in getting your audiobook collection plan off the ground is to determine whether the collection will have an emphasis on education or recreational materials. The librarys long-range plan may answer that question by defining a role for the institution as a whole. On the other hand, there may be a different role defined for the various departments of the library. For example, a library could define its goals to develop services and resources to meet the educational and leisure needs of the community. An alternate approach might be to define a different role for the librarys audiovisual department, emphasizing recreation. There is nothing wrong with either approach. However, some institutions may feel it would be better to have a separate plan for the audiobook collection and service. I believe it is better to integrate audiobooks into the institutions long-range plan, rather than to segregate it. By integrating the goals and objectives for

audiobooks into the librarys overall plan, there is greater likelihood that policies and procedures will be consistent, and that duplications and conflicts can be avoided. Oak Lawn Public Librarys video collection development policy emphasizes educational or how-to subjects, but also purchases box office hits. However, we only buy them after prices come down, and some patrons are unhappy that we dont buy immediate releases and multiple copies. We apply a different policy in purchasing audiobooks. The task is less difficult, in my opinion, because of the availability of so many more quality audiobooks. There are fewer choices in video. Thus, we continue to build up the audiobook collection with classics, selected fiction, and nonfiction. In nonfiction, the important subject areas remain history, biography, self-help, and business. In fiction, I avoid romance and esoteric works as well as poorly written materials. However, I buy recreational reading such as mysteries, science fiction, westerns, and fiction (which doesnt mean highbrow, but simply well-written new fiction). There are many excellent books that arent considered romances, but they would certainly fill the bill for patrons requesting that genre.

Audiobook Collections & Services

Suggestions for Starting an Audiobook Collection

The Oak Lawn Public Librarys audiobook collection was created in 1988 when there were fewer audiobooks available than there are today. At that time I wanted to make a proposal to our Friends of the Libraryan offer that they couldnt refuse. We needed a grant to initiate the collection, and I designed three different packages for their consideration. I stated in my request that each package encompasses both fiction and nonfiction, classic and modern as well as leisure and more scholarly works. In Appendices DH, you will find lists of authors and titles to consider in your purchasing plans. I have tried to present you with as many alternatives as possible. The comprehensive lists should provide you with ideas and give you some guidance as to which companies can supply a given title or selections of an authors works. I wanted the lists to give you greater flexibility, realizing that communities and tastes vary greatly. If I were to start a collection today, I would follow the same procedure. I combed all of the audiobook catalogs that I could find, and I read the limited articles on audiobooks that I could locate in the professional literature. Specifically, I tried to have a little for almost every taste, hoping that I could appeal to as many patrons as possible. Because there are so many more titles available now, selecting a core collection is more difficult. There are also many more audiobook companies than in 1988, and many of these companies produce the same titles, particularly classics that are in the public domain. Because many authors have a number of excellent titles to their credit, I have often just supplied the authors name and which companies sell his or her work. It was my intention to allow you to make the decision on exactly which books, for example, you want to have in your collection beyond Twains The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I have concentrated on

Planning Audiobook Collections & Services


unabridged books in my lists, because unlike videos, libraries are not in significant competition with commercial businesses relative to the loan of unabridged audiobooks. While abridged audiobooks are sold through local bookstores, there are relatively few retail sources for unabridged audiobooks. You will find several different lists from which to choose: classics, adult, young adult, and childrens audiobooks. Many of these overlap, but I tried to put each title on only one list. There is a code for each of the companies that supply audiobooks, and I took care to suggest a variety of suppliers, rather than favor one firm.

Audiobook Subscription Order Plans

An alternative you may wish to investigate is the various continuous or standing order plans that are offered by audiobook publishers. Continuous and standing order plans are used interchangeably. Libraries generally complete a profile and indicate how much they plan to spend during the year and any special emphasis they have in purchasing. The standing order continues until the library notifies the publisher to stop. The chief advantage is that the publisher and the library both save time in ordering. These are also sold in gradations depending upon how many titles you wish to purchase or how much you want to spend. To give you a basis for budgeting, I determined that Books on Tape and Recorded Books (two of the largest audiobook companies) produced titles that had an average cost of $1,0001,250 per month, exclusive of discounts. This assumes your library wants everything that is published. By comparing individual purchasing with a continuous or standing order plan, I determined that I would save the greatest time and money using a standing order plan.

Making Your Selections

The standard selection tools such as the Public Library Catalog and the Fiction Catalog published by H. W. Wilson can serve as guides to building a balanced collection. Not all of these titles will be available in audiobook format, but a significant percentage will be. It is also useful to contact the audiobook publishers to determine whether they have any plans to produce audiobook versions of the classics and standards. Publishers are constantly seeking suggestions for new titles, and they will welcome this feedback. At my library, I also rely upon our suggestion box for purchasing ideas. Our users are always willing to offer recommendations on materials that can improve the collection, and we rely upon their knowledge of the community and insight into future trends. Fortunately, audiobooks dont go out of print as fast as books. Because high speed duplicators are relatively cheap, publishers can produce a tape on demand. Many audiobook publishers even promote the fact that their materials never go out of print. As long as licensing arrangements can be made with the copyright holder, audiobook publishers can produce any book that will sell enough copies to recover the cost of narration and production. This flexibility allows a library greater opportunity to achieve a balanced collection.

Many library publications, such as Library Journal, now include audiobook news, reviews, lists, etc. in their content. There are also a number of other sources that can aid in making wise selections. Please refer to Appendix C for additional selection tools.

Audiobook Collections & Services

Unique Considerations
There are several user categories that should be given special attention in planning the audiobook collection and services. Input from those members of the library staff who are involved in outreach to special user groups is very appropriate in planning policies and collections. One population example is the immigrant who needs resources to strengthen his or her English language skills. Although more publishers are producing English as a second language (ESL) print resources, they are still in limited supply. Moreover, audiobooks offer advantages that print resources cannot match. The ability to hear the pronunciation of difficult words greatly benefits those who are unfamiliar with the subtleties of English. However, the person who is seeking ESL resources will want books that are somewhat different than the typical listener. More foreign authors may be required, and accents will be a critical concern. Please see page 64 for a list of publishers of audiobooks in foreign languages. Another user category to be considered in planning are those persons with vision disabilities. Many libraries offer large print books, and many who have vision loss may be eligible for the NLS talking book service. Nonetheless, the blind are often heavy consumers of audiobooks, and their special needs should be considered in planning the collection. Still another category are new readers. More publishers are producing high interest/low readability resources for use by new readers, but they are in short supply. The unique characteristics of the audiobook makes it a valuable resource to these patrons. However, new readers require titles that are pertinent to their lives, such as employment materials, but which do not contain difficult or specialized language. Selection assistance should be sought from those individuals who specialize in reading instruction and adult learners.

Collaboration Opportunities
Audiobooks offer opportunities for collaborative planning with various departments in the library. Public relations endeavors are a good example. At Oak Lawn, we include a statement on our bibliographies whenever an audiobook version of a print edition is available. The large print area of the library is also an excellent location to promote audiobooks. Another way to promote the audiobook collection is by using stickers that can be placed on books, videos or even related music albums or soundtracks. The label simply reads Also available as an audiobook.

User Input
Good planning also requires user input. To gain this feedback I recommend a suggestion box be placed in a strategic area near the audiobook col-

Planning Audiobook Collections & Services


lection (in our audiovisual area, we have a suggestion box). Our library is also committed to doing periodic community surveys. Friends of the Library volunteers hand out surveys in a friendly manner, encouraging patrons to participate. We also run a survey in the librarys newsletter. Among the comments we received during the last survey were: Expand books-on-tape collection. Add textbooks on tape for learning disabled students. Reorganize audiotape section by type of book. Please catalog the books on tape that you have. Titles are extremely difficult to find. Im happy that the library has service for the visually impaired. Dont know what I would do without the library. Librarians in that section are extremely helpful. I have a difficult time selecting books on tape as the collection has grown so large (very good) but difficult to select. Compliments from a thirty-five year resident.3 Figure 2.1. Sample suggestions form from As a result of this particular survey, we have cataloged the nonficthe Oak Lawn Public Library. tion, using very brief and basic numbers. The fiction collection was divided by genres (mystery, science fiction, western, short story, abridged) and then alphabetized. All new audiobooks now have a new sticker. We also pass the survey results on to the librarys Board of Directors. I like to keep them updated because the collection is expensive and must Public Preferences compete for funding with other popular items. The Friends are also kept In 1999, an APA survey finds current on the popularity of this collection, since they initiated it and still the following specifics regarding popular genres within the contribute a considerable amount of money for additional purchases each audiobook format: year ($5,0007,000). 1. Book-based unabridged An audiobook collection fits perfectly into most libraries' collection fiction at 30 percent. development plans. After the decision to add audiobooks is made, details 2. Book-based fiction (both such as how and what to choose and what will fit with your library's comabridged and unabridged) munity demand must be covered. After this close look at one librarys realwent from 43 percent of the market in 1995 to 48 ity, Chapter 3 will cover the real nitty gritty about selecting audiobooks, percent of the market in including the differences in adult, young adult and childrens audiobooks.

Notes 1. Oak Lawn Public Library (IL) Mission Statement 2. Charles R. McClure, Planning and Role Setting for Public Libraries (American Library Association, 1987). 3. Oak Lawn Public Library (IL) 1998 Community Survey. 4. Growth of Audiobook Industry, APA Newsletter (March, 1999) p. 7.

3. General/Miscellaneous nonfiction decreased from 29 percent to 21 percent. 4. Children's audiobooks increased from 10.3 percent to 14 percent. 5. Language instruction programs held steady at 2 percent.

Audiobook Selection Principles

This chapter is devoted to the special factors that need to be considered in selecting and ordering audiobooks for each user group. Whether to buy or rent audiobooks is one decision. While I favor buying, I have included information on the pros and cons of each alternative. I have the same strong bias when it comes to abridged versus unabridged audiobooks. I believe that different criteria must be used in selecting each category. Specific policy recommendations are made for building young adult and childrens collections, and the findings from several recent studies on the influence of audiobooks on children are summarized. I provide lists of outstanding titles to further strengthen interest in reading, as well as some simple, effective, and entertaining program ideas. I discuss the unique characteristics of United Kingdom publishers and considerations for their use. Finally, I have included further evidence on how audiobooks are entering mainstream society. For the complete Oak Lawn Public Library Selection Policy Statement, see Appendix J.

Rental vs. Purchase

There are several companies that offer tapes for rental, much like the McNaughton book rental plan. It is also possible for a consortium of libraries to share and rotate purchased or rented collections. A 1998 Cahners survey found that 96 percent of all libraries buy their audiobooks, 19 percent percent both rent and buy, and only 4 percent rent their collections.1 Another alternative in the rent or buy debate would be to rent the audiobooks that have a temporary high demand like bestsellers, titles on school reading lists, or special assignments. The criteria for selection should be similar whether your library decides to rent or purchase. For beginning collections, renting audiobooks might be an excellent way to test a range or type of audiobook and see what your patrons prefer. It is a wise investment allowing you the luxury of variety without having to pay full price and then house less-popular types. Since most libraries purchase their audiobook collections, lets assume you decided to follow the majority. The next issue is whether to buy abridged or unabridged audiobooks, or a combination of both.

Abridged vs. Unabridged

Abridged titles range from two to four tapes, while unabridged titles can include as many as 30 tapes. There are also semi-abridged (or abridged light) titles, which are usually four to six tapes in length. Prices are coming


Audiobook Selection Principles

A few audiobook producers cut corners by recording only short stories or original shorter works which are considered unabridged. Dont be misled! Ive noticed the term unabridged is very loosely used. Some audiobook companies are also following a practice adopted by a number of video producers. By putting less content on each tape, they force buyers to buy a set in order to obtain the entire movie or video.The best way to counter negative practices is to join with other libraries, and to work with professional organizations such as the ALA. Despite these problems, the demand for audiobooks continues to grow. Publishers Weekly reports that due to the increasing popularity of unabridged audiobooks, sales were 10.2 percent higher in 1998 compared with 1997.The major publishers are now releasing 2030 percent of new titles in both abridged and unabridged formats.2

down in all these categories as popularity continues to increase. I believe that if you base your decision on the cost per tape, unabridged titles would be less costly. However, some users prefer abridgments; others do not. Authors differ on whether to abridge. Some major writers, like P.D. James, Larry McMurtry and John Irving, will only sell unabridged rights to their books. Stephen King and Dean Koontz have relented and permit abridgments, but they want to personally have a hand in the cuts. Proponents of abridged audiobooks contend that they cost less, are often released simultaneously with the hardback book, and are sometimes the only format available. Unabridged advocates claim that they remain closer to the authors intent and writing style, have more durable packaging, and remain more traditional library fare (not like the Readers Digest Condensed Books). A compromise might be to begin a collection with abridged titles and then evaluate their popularity with your patrons. Another possibility is to try to keep everyone happy by adding both formats. Some libraries automatically purchase abridged audiobooks without first reading reviews. Conversely, they buy unabridged only after reading at least one favorable review. Some of my patrons find abridged audiobooks unsatisfactory because they lose a major part of the original story. When a book is abridged, the editors usually cut into thought, emotion, and character development. Unfortunately, this often greatly alters the authors style, or even worse, the intent and content.

Fiction vs. Nonfiction

In reviewing the audiobook producer and distributor catalogs, you will soon discover that there are more fiction titles available on audiobooks than nonfiction. Both are popular with patrons, but I believe that the demand for recreational reading gives fiction the edge. This is partly because fiction is easier to read aloud. While nonfiction books are often visually scanned or browsed by patrons to find the desired information, this is obviously not possible with tapes. Nonfiction is more title driven, with the best sellers being most popular. However, the exceptions are self-help books, which are often popular regardless of their age or unusual character. The popularity of fiction audiobooks is certainly due in part to the opportunity to relax and listen. If an accent makes it difficult for a listener to understand a story, it can become frustrating. On the other hand, many people enjoy accents because of their variety. There is a theory that after a hard day in front of a computer screen, people might prefer an audiobook rather than having to read a book. They are likely to need aural stimulation after lots of visual activity at work. However, if the listener must struggle to understand what the narrator is saying, it becomes work.

Figure 3.1. Shelving audiobooks face out stimulates interest.

20 Audiobooks for Young Adults

Childrens and young adult titles particularly shine in the audio format. The authors and narrators devote special care to their production, and many of the classic youth titles are narrated by celebrities. School Library Journal once commented that when a teacher introduces books on tape to her class, even reluctant readers get excited. Children often want to take the tapes home to listen to the balance of the story. Audiobooks can help connect young readers to books, contradicting the occasional criticism that tapes discourage reading.3 Young adults exhibit greater interest in audiobooks than children. I believe this probably stems in part from their familiarity with Walkman music and tapes. There are some titles that are better suited to be a young persons first audiobook experience. A collection of short stories would be a safe start because a multi-cassette title might be a bit daunting. Two excellent possibilities are Don Gallos Sixteen Short Stories by Outstanding Writers for Young Adults or Chris Crutchers Athletic Shorts. Sixteen encompasses a wide range of situations and the young people who overcome hardships and obstacles. Authors include M.E. Kerr, Robert Cormier, Robert Lipsyte, and many more. It was one of my first audiobook listening experiences. I was totally enthralled though I was way past sixteen. Athletic Shorts includes six stories about teenage athletes as they confront a variety of issues such as prejudice and AIDS. Both titles have wonderfully diverse stories and narrators that speak to, and not at, young people. As teens become more accustomed to audiobooks, there are several novels that are perfect for them at this stage of their lives. My all-time favorite (and that of many others) is Sally Darlings spectacular reading of To Kill a Mockingbird. Darling is Jem, Scout, Atticus, and all the rest of the fantastic cast. She begins the book by taking the listener with her as an adult who is recalling that, oh so memorable summer when she was a child in Alabama. Also, Maggie Sobols wonderful reading of Cry the Beloved Country makes this rather difficult novel more accessible to younger readers when they listen to it. It is the story of a South African minister who searches for his son only to find him imprisoned for killing a white woman. Of course, packaging is very important for young patrons. It must look appealing, and it must also be durable and contain the same descriptive information as adult books (i.e., author, title, a brief but clear summary of the story, number of tapes, and listening time). The age or grade level will appear on some tapes, but not on others. This will vary with each company. It can be a deficiency, but I dont think it is a serious problem. It is better for children to listen above their level rather than below. I also suspect certain books and authors hold an appeal no matter how old the child is.

Audiobook Collections & Services

If You Help One Additional Reader

I want to share one story that might convince some critics to become supporters of audiobooks in libraries, schools, and classrooms. I once helped a ninth grader select an audiobook for his class. It was the first time he borrowed an audiobook, and it was an assignment. He later visited the library to borrow more, and I asked him for his opinion on the format. He told me I might not be able to read as well as others but I still have opinions. Because I could listen to the story, I could finally share my opinions with my classmates. Without audiobooks from the library, he might never have become a participating member of his class.

Listening vs. Reading

Audiobooks not only strengthen young peoples interest in reading, they also help struggling readers keep plugging away and eventually master the wonderful art of reading a book. Whenever I discover that a group of students have matured in their audiobook listening, I like to organize a pro-

Audiobook Selection Principles


gram that features listening sessions. First, I have each person listen to the same audiobook, then I have them share their favorite passages with the group, replaying segments of the tape containing these passages. Following the listening sessions, I will ask them to explain why it was a favorite. They will also often point out how something could have been better presented. Another more advanced approach is to have each person play a favorite section of a book of their own choice. After playing the passages, open discussion by asking each participant to comment on one anothers choices. I found that these experiences help people learn how to listen better. It also introduces them to books they have not previously read or heard, and further broadens their reading and listening habits. Of course, these programs would be suitable for people of all ages, but I found that audiobooks are particularly appropriate for young adult programming. They will often be more attracted to audiobook discussions than general book discussions. Teens have also told me that when they participated in these programs they would often hear something they missed the first time, or they would gain another perspective as a result of the discussion. This is, after all, part of the enrichment that reading and listening to great literature is all aboutlistening, reading, and interpreting in our own ways, but benefiting from other perspectives. Selected Audiobooks for Teens from YALSA In her article, Recorded Books Raise Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley; read by Michael Reading Skills, Marie Carbo recommends York. Audio Partners; ISBN 1-57270-064-5; Unabridged. that a well-written book above the childs Down River, by Will Hobbs; read by Christina Moore. reading level should be chosen.4 The audioRecorded Books; ISBN 0-7887-1101-6; Unabridged. book can do what the child herself cannot The Mighty, by Rodman Philbrick; read by Elden Henson. doverbalize the printed words with propListening Library; ISBN 0-8072-7981-1; Unabridged. er pace and pronunciation. The student has Into Thin Air, by Jan Krakauer; read by the author. BDD a greater potential for success, since she Audio; ISBN 0-553-47867-2; Abridged (also unabridged). learns how to pace herself by deciding how Lives of the Presidents, by Kathleen Krull; read by John C. often to listen to a difficult passage. Brown. Audio Bookshelf; ISBN 1-883332-34-6; Abridged. Since some reading specialists believe Out of the Darkness, by Karen Hesse; read by Martha one learns better upon hearing rather than Mashburn. Listening Library; ISBN 0-8072-8012-7; reading, some schools are introducing Unabridged. audiobooks as an alternate way to study litParrot in the Oven, by Victor Martinez; read by Robert erature. In some cases, groups listen to an Ramirez. Recorded Books; ISBN 0-7887-2081-3; audiobook and then break for discussion. Unabridged. This is an excellent way to introduce differWalk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech; Read by Kate ent topics for discussion. Harper. Listening Library; ISBN 0-8072-7871-8; There are many exceptional audioUnabridged. books for young people, and the following Wasted, by Marya Hornbacher; read by the author. BDD list, reprinted with permission of the Audio; ISBN 0-553-52518-2; Unabridged. American Library Association, contains Weeping Willow, by Ruth White; read by Angela Jayne selections from the ALAs latest annual list Rogers. Recorded Books; ISBN 0-7887-0951-8; Unabridged. of Outstanding Audiobooks for Teens:5 Find each years list at the Young Adult Whistling Toilets, by Randy Powell; read by Johnny Heller. Recorded Books; ISBN 0-7887-0889-9; Unabridged. Library Services Association (YALSA) site: (

22 Audiobook Collections & Services for Children

There is a growing number of childrens audiobooks that are both entertaining and instructional. Childrens literature generally seems to translate perfectly into the audio format. Although some school administrators and officials are occasionally critical of audiobooks, there is increasing evidence that audio stimulates childrens reading, class participation, and aids foreign-born children in learning English. Kyleen Beers conducted some recent research on the effectiveness of audiobooks in stimulating reading and improving reading comprehension.6 Beers found that some students want to complement their reading with audiobooks so they can hear what they are reading. By strengthening their reading, their ability, interest, and confidence are all increasing. Some teachers asked their students to keep journals of their reading, and the journals showed that their writing had also improved markedly. Conversely, this new generation of children are harder to impress. They play with virtual reality video games and have seen hi-tech movies, and they can become easily bored if an audiobook narrator fails to add color and drama to the story. Some narrators are better than others when it comes to interpreting childrens books. Using audiobooks with struggling reluctant and second language students does allow them to read (listen) above their level. This success with audiobooks can result in the student seeking out similar books in print form. A positive audiobook experience can lead to further reading and listening. Fortunately, more schools and teachers are using audiobooks to add variety to reading instruction. Videotapes are also a popular variation, but there are not as many classic stories that have been produced in video because of the greater production cost, and the difficulty in converting some complex plots and language into film or video. It should be easier for teachers to find audiobook versions of many classics to incorporate into their lesson plans. There is a diverse range of companies that produce and/or distribute childrens audiobooks. Some offer only a few titles and some specialize in various subjects or age levels. It is as important to gain knowledge about audiobook publishers and distributors as it is to know the special emphases of print publishers. As an aid to learning more about these publishers, consider requesting their current catalog or the URL of their website, if they have one. A selected list and other sources of information on audiobook publishers and distributors are included in Appendix A. This knowledge will help you to build portions of your collection, and determine which publisher/distributor offers the best edition, production, or narrator. However, as you become more experienced, dont be afraid to try new publishers/distributors. Smaller publishers may offer works by new authors, or audiobooks on unusual topics that may contribute to the collection development policies and goals of your library. Another way to build a quality collection for special age groups such as children is to look for awards. Most companies clearly identify prize-winning audiobooks in their catalogs and on their websites, and a policy of

Audiobook Collections & Services

Audiobook Selection Principles


acquiring award winners will simplify collection development. See Appendix I for award-winning titles in every age level, from children through adults. Notable Childrens Recordings from ALSC
The Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the ALA, produces this annual listing. Reproduced with the permission of the ALA.7

Bens Trumpet, by Rachel Isadora; Read by Charles Turner. Live Oak Media. Book and cassette. ISBN 087499-433-0. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson; Read by C. J. Critt. Recorded Books #95264. Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes; Read by Meryl Streep. Weston Woods Studios. #KPRA369; Book and cassette. Door in the Wall, by Marguerite De Angelie; Ready by Roger Rees. BDD Audio; ISBN 0-553-52522-0. Eleanor Roosevelt, by Russell Freedman; Read by Barbara Caruso. Recorded Books #95284. Freak the Mighty, by Rodman Philbrick; Read by Elden Henson. Listening Library; ISBN 0-8072-7981-1. The Gardener, by Sarah Stewart; Read by Bonnie Kelly-Young. Live Oak Media; ISBN 087499-430-6. Book and cassette. The Great Fire, by Jim Murphy; Read by John McDonough. Recorded Books #95430. Jacob Have I Loved, by Katherine Paterson; Read by Christina Moore. Recorded Books #95433. John Henry, by Julius Lester; Performed by Samuel L. Jackson. Weston Woods Studios #KPRA377. Book and cassette. Joyful Noise, by Paul Fleischman; Read by B. Caruso, J. McDonough, C. Moore, and J Woodman. Recorded Books #95282.

Leons Story, by Leon Tillage; Read by Graham Brown. Recorded Books #95281. Moonchild, by Eloise McGraw; Read by Virginia Leishman. Recorded Books #95341. Rascal, by Sterling North; Read by Jim Weiss. Listening Library ISBN 0-80727896-3. Running Out of Time, by Margaret Peterson Haddix; Read by Kimberly Schraf. Listening Library ISBN 0-80728031-3. Sarny: A Life Remembered, by Gary Paulsen; Read by Lynne Thigpen. Recorded Books #95435. The Silver Chair, by C. S. Lewis; BBC Radio dramatization. BDD Audio; ISBN 0-553-52570-0. Storytelling Norwegian Tales of Enchantment; Performed by Judith Simundson. Makoche Recording Co. #SCD198. Rudy and the Roller Skate; Performed by Don Keding. Turtle Creek Recordings #TC 1009. Under the Mango Tree: Stories from SpanishSpeaking Countries; Performed by Elida Guardia Bonet. Zarati Press; ISBN 09663662-0-4. World Tales, Live at Bennington College; Performed by Tim Jennings and Leanne Ponder. Eastern Coyote; #ECP120CA (also on CD).

Making Returns
Look for publishers who will permit audiobooks to be returned for credit, if they turn out to be unsatisfactory in terms of quality of production or content. You would not hesitate to return a printed book if one of the signatures was printed upside down, and you need to establish similar standards if deficiencies occur in your audiobook purchases. Thus far, Ive not had a

bad experience with any of the audiobook publishers/distributors relative to returns. Most will accept a return if it is technically deficient, but you may need to write in advance to get permission and shipping instructions. If you do get something that doesnt live up to your standards, send it back.

Audiobook Collections & Services

Special Considerations for UK Audiobook Publishers

Audiobooks produced in the United Kingdom (UK) and other foreign countries need careful evaluation for other reasons besides narrator accent. Some overseas titles will reflect different cultural perspectives. For example, the animal rights issue and vegetarianism evolved earlier and had a greater impact upon residents of the UK than the U.S. They may introduce topics or take perspectives that are unusual to American children. Humorous books are also vastly different in the U.S. and the UK. What may seem funny to British children may bewilder American youth. British childrens literature tends to be more adult, and the Harry Potter novels offer a good example. Many of the recent objections to these novels are the result of cultural differences between the two nations. On the other hand, the modern retellings of various Shakespeare plays are really appropriate for all ages, and they are outstanding. Books by authors such as Brough Girling have adults as main characters, and they are hilarious. They are understandable to young audiences as well. One of the funniest books that Ive ever listened to is Girlings School Secretary on the Warpath, where burned out middle school secretaries are sent to commando camps to be revitalized.
Notes 1. Norman Oder, Audiovisual Rising: Demand, Budgets and Circulation Are All Up. Library Journal (November 15, 1998) pp. 30-33. 2. Trudi M. Rosenblum, Happy Holidays for Audio. Publishers Weekly (February 1, 1999) p. 33. 3. Kylene Beers, Listen while You Read. School Library Journal (April, 1998) pp. 30-35. 4. Marie Carbo, Recorded Books Raise Reading Skills. Education Digest (May 1996), pp. 56-59. 5. American Library Association. Young Adult Library Services Association. Outstanding Books for Teens, 1998. (ALA, 1999). 6. Beers, ibid. pp. 30-35. 7. American Library Association. Association for Library Services to Children. Notable Childrens Recordings. (ALA, 1999).

Acquiring, Processing & Maintaining Audiobooks

Chapter 4 includes practical advice on the important procedures of acquiring and processing audiobooks. I have included some advice on how to begin a new collection, how to further strengthen an existing collection, and suggestions on how to gain user input on collection development. I have also shared some personal experience on successful techniques in gaining approval for expanded audiobook collections. The next logical step is how to maintain the collection, and several options are discussed. The important issue of packaging quality and protective packaging of adult audiobooks is covered, as well as what is vital to have on the outside cover (everything). Another big audiobook problem is replacement of lost or damaged tapes. Library staff must be very careful since many suppliers have varied policies. Selection of the best distributors is important, for your need for replacements will never cease. I have provided quick and easy repair tips for tapes with only minor problems. A simple handout containing tips to help patrons increase their listening pleasure (while decreasing potential damage to tapes) is included in this chapter. To help the novice, I have described the anatomy of the typical cassette and its different configurations. The always delicate subject of cost, budget and bargains is discussed, and I have included hints on how to stretch your budget.

Definition of Common Terms

Before we consider the procedures of purchasing or leasing audiobooks, I want to clarify a few terms that initially confused me. By reviewing these terms, I hope to spare you the same bewilderment. The terms distributors and publishers are often used interchangeably. Publishers produce audiobooks, and you can purchase directly from them. However, many libraries purchase their audiobooks from a distributor, who usually does not produce audiobooks. In addition to purchasing audiobooks directly from distributors/publishers, there are also jobbers or wholesalers who gather audiobooks (and other materials, as well) from a variety of sources and warehouse them to be sold to libraries and retail stores. The primary advantage of purchasing audiobooks from a distributor, jobber or wholesaler is that these firms will generally offer a discount to their customers, and because they often stock materials produced by many publishers, you can combine orders and save time and money by avoiding the necessity to order audiobooks from many different producers. At the risk of confusing you, however, I must note that many publishers will also grant discounts to libraries, and some publishers will also distribute audiobooks for smaller producers. Because most distributors or whole-


salers do not stock every audiobook, and every audiobook publisher does not have an agreement with a distributor or wholesaler, you often have to deal with publishers, distributors, and wholesalers or jobbers in order to acquire the materials you need for your collection.

Audiobook Collections & Services

In my opinion, audiobooks are expensive compared to other library materials. In addition, audiobooks have smaller discounts. Some companies offer the best discounts to those libraries that agree to a standing order or continuous order plan. Be careful to read the fine print in the agreements advanced by the publishers. There are always titles that you would definitely buy, but there may be some marginal titles that you feel pressured to purchase in order to get the better discount, or to save yourself the trouble of informing the company that you do not want certain titles. Few libraries want to bother mailing back an unwanted title. All of these extra considerations may lead one to question the ultimate savings. Some companies offer up to a 60% discount if you subscribe to a standing order agreement, while others offer smaller discounts on individual orders. Generally, look for sales usually during the summer. I carefully watch for special sales promotions during this season. In 1998, a Library Journal/Cahners research survey of 486 public libraries found that audiovisual budgets had grown 53 percent during the previous five years, but the annual Library Journal budget survey found that library material budgets had only increased by 36 percent for the same period. Many librarians will acknowledge that budget allocations do not keep up with the demand for audiobooks.1
Placing Audiobook Orders
At my library, we buy as much as possible from a library jobber.When we cannot get something from our jobber, we will then go directly to the smaller houses.There are many times when I would prefer to go directly to the publisher, but it is very time-consuming. It is the policy of my library to combine our orders and send them to the jobber in order to maximize our discount. Audiobook publishers supply lists of new releases periodically.These vary from monthly to quarterly. It seems that a healthy number of releases come out each month. However, I only order two or three times a year. Our fiscal year begins in January, and in February or March I do a large order. I prepare a second one in August or September.We cease making new purchases November 1, which automatically produces limitations. I find that this method works fine and keeps our shelves brimming with new titles. Patrons will find appealing titles whether they vacation in the summer or midwinter. I would recommend that individual libraries do what's best for their collection, budget and other individual requirements.

Replacement Tapes
In selecting publishers, distributors or wholesalers, care should be taken to ensure your supplier can furnish replacement tapes. Library users can be hard on tapes, and they have been known to lose part of a set of tapes. Some cassettes may be of poor quality. Cassettes are also sensitive to magnetic fields and heat. Equipment can also eat the tape. In summary, it is almost a certainty that you will need to obtain a replacement tape for a multi-cassette set. The other alternative, of course, would be to throw away the balance of the set, which few libraries wish to do. Fortunately, most audiobook publishers will replace a missing cassette, as will some distributors and wholesalers. Unfortunately, company policies vary greatly. Some offer free lifetime replacements. Others will replace a damaged or missing cassette free of charge for only the first year and charge a fee thereafter. The worst companies offer no replacements. Some librarians (myself included) actively avoid doing business with the latter companies in an effort to convince them to change their policy.

Out of Print
One of the best features of audiobooks is they dont go out of print as fast as books. Because high speed duplicators are relatively cheap, many pub-

Acquiring, Processing & Maintaining Audiobooks


lishers can produce a tape on demand. Many audiobook publishers even promote the fact that their materials never go out of print. As long as licensing arrangements can be made with the copyright holder, audiobook publishers can produce any book that will sell enough copies to recover the cost of narration and production. This flexibility allows a library greater opportunity to achieve a balanced collection. It is fairly common for a library that is adding a new format to emphasize the bestsellers, since it will yield greater circulation. While I have no objection to bestselling fiction and nonfiction, I would strongly recommend that funds should be budgeted to permit the librarys audiobook collection to include a representative selection of classics and books with literary value. These titles will remain in circulation long after the popularity of the bestsellers declines. The standard selection tools such as the Public Library Catalog and the Fiction Catalog published by H.W. Wilson can serve as guide to building a balanced collection. Not all of these titles will be available in audiobook format, but a significant percentage will. It is also useful to contact the audiobook publishers to determine whether they have any plans to produce audiobook versions of the classics and standards. Publishers are constantly seeking suggestions for new products, and they will welcome this question. At my library, I also rely upon our suggestion box for purchasing ideas. Our users are always willing to offer recommendations on materials that can improve the collection, and we rely upon their knowledge of the community and insight into future trends.

Although audiobooks are not cheap, they are certainly not the most expensive resource material purchased by libraries. The three package proposals I developed for consideration by our Friends in 1988 were $1,127, $2,333 and $3,277. Fortunately, the friends chose the largest collection, which included 78 titles. These were adult classics plus a few titles popular with young adults. There were no childrens titles. I would estimate that the cost of these audiobooks would be somewhat greater today, but audiobook prices have remained relatively constant. Depending on your discounts, this could be somewhat less. I usually purchase audiobooks about twice a year. The librarys budget includes one line item for audiocassettes, from which I must purchase both music and audiobooks. Since the Friends continue to supplement the audiobook collection each year, I dont have to buy too much with library money, perhaps $2,0003,000 annually. The Friends donate $5,0008,000 annually. I also add many review copies that I receive as a reviewer for AudioFile Magazine, and as a member of the jury for the annual Audio Publishers Associations Audie Awards. In seeking funding, I would recommend that you give your board, director or Friends group several options. I regularly review all the catalogs we receive, and then take the plunge.

28 Processing

Audiobook Collections & Services

Another important consideration for libraries is packaging. The quality of packaging can vary greatly by company and by whether the titles are purchased in abridged or unabridged formats. Generally, the big name companies have good, quality holders for unabridged titles. However, some companies orient their product for single-use or personal users which means paper or thin vinyl cartons. Most abridged titles are also packaged in cartons that are completely unusable by libraries. Most libraries repackage abridged audiobooks in reinforced cases that are bought separately. The cover information and artwork can usually be trimmed and placed in a clear plastic pocket in the new cases. Generally, audiobook covers and artwork are very attractive. Covers range from elegantly sedate dark covers with text and few illustrations, to multicolored, elaborate covers with appealing artwork. This range makes a wonderfully diverse selection on library shelves. Often audiobook covers are the same as the hardback book cover, which often helps to promote the audio version. Many library supply houses sell heavy-duty bookpacks that are the best packaging for durability. They vary in size from a small paperback look-alike to much larger bookpacks that measure several inches thick. Cassettes are held securely in these cases, to reduce damage and loss. For large sets, the cassettes are secured upright with the delicate exposed tape placed downward in its bay. Both types have distinct pluses and minuses.2 The bookpack design allows the cover and spine information to be easily installed. The bookpacks can be shelved in various ways much like books. Shelving audiobooks depends on the type of shelves you use, space, your marketing and browsing methods. The outside cover must provide the standard author, title, narrator, summary of content, and a clear indication whether the audiobook is abridged or unabridged. (This is often very hard to find on commercial packaging.) The number of tapes and running time should also be shown. Be sure to alert the people in your librarys technical services departFigure 4.1. Sturdy bookpacks will protect audiobooks. ment that processors should avoid obscuring the information on the outside of the package. It is often very difficult to do this because the jacket is loaded with important information. The more sophisticated your audiobook patrons become, the more they will thirst for this information. There is one omission that I observe on many audiobook packagesthe year the audiobook was first published. The date of the original publication of the book and the production date of the audiobook are valuable and should be included.

One of the greatest problem areas in administering the audiobook collection is repair and maintenance. Although it is possible to order replacement tapes, there can be a significant delay until the replacement copy is received. This can be a real problem with very popular titles. Several weeks

Acquiring, Processing & Maintaining Audiobooks


may elapse before an audiobook is returned to circulation. At my library we have solved some of these problems by making repairs ourselves if the damage is minimal. Not every damaged tape can be repaired, but you may be pleasantly surprised at what can be done. Patrons are extremely impressed whenever we are able to make these repairs. I think they see it as a great example of their tax dollars really being put to work! We put together, piece by piece, our own tool kit years ago. Kits from library supply companies will do the job splendidly. We began doing our own repairs in 1993. The person who repairs our tapes reports that she has gained greater skills with experience. She keeps a list of the repairs that she has made including date, title, tape number and type of repair done. She will repair a given tape only one time. When a second problem arises, she immediately orders a replacement. The main weakness that occurs with audiocassettes is the voice pad (the small foam rubber-pad that holds the tape against the record and playback head as it plays). The other problem area is the sounding board, which is the silver rectangle piece that fits below the voice pad. Usually these pieces are either worn out or missing and simply need to be replaced. This is a fairly easy job. We keep extra voice pads and sounding boards on hand from tapes that were discarded. This repair takes about 10 minutes. Another very common problem is a twisted tape. To make this repair we use a manual rewinder that is hooked on to the tape. Figure 4.2. Simple repairs can return audioThe tape is hand rewound as you watch for the problem spot. The books to circulation. tape must be carefully untwisted and then rewound. This job takes longer, from 10 to 30 minutes. Most cassette cases are screwed together, which makes opening them quite easy. If there are no screws, the case must be pried open and then taped back together again on three sides. (Do not glue it together.) Tapes are examined by looking for a rough spot or a discoloration. These signify a twist in the tape. If a tape is ripped or torn, how much damage has been done must be determined. If a lot of tape will be lost in repair, replacement is the only solution. The goal in repairing cassettes is to avoid interference with the story. If a small splice will suffice, a technician can use an audiotape splicer sold by several of the library supply houses. After the tape is spliced, it is test played to make sure it works and only a little of the storys continuity is lost. A mark is also placed on tapes that have been repaired. If there are additional problems with such a tape, you will know it needs to be replaced. The amount of usage determines how long the repair will last. It is very important to encourage patrons to tell staff about problems with tapes. They must be specific so staff can make the proper repair. If a tape sounds garbled, there is probably a twist in it. If the tape continues to flip back and forth like it is playing and then rewinding, the problem might simply be a little bend in the tape and an oversensitive tape player. No repair is needed. Labels will often fall off and need replacement. We keep a supply in the audiovisual department.


Audiobook Collections & Services

When a tape needs to be replaced, it is the policy of our library to charge the patron $5.00. This is an across-the-board charge, and it avoids the necessity of having to determine how much each company specifically charges for repair or replacement. For very minor damage we do not charge the patron, nor do we apply this fee if the publisher will furnish a free replacement. We may run into greater or less expensive repairs, but we have found that costs average out. In all of our circulation policies and procedures, consistency is helpful and appreciated by patrons and staff alike. Charging for nickel and dime repairs causes bad public relations. We have produced this handout (shown at right) on how patrons can improve their audiobook listening. As mentioned previously in this book, damage does occur to audiobooks once they Hints to Improve Your Listening Pleasure leave the library. Water and heat damage If the tape doesnt sound or play right: affect the outer cases far more than the tapes. Although cases can be damaged when Check the cassette for damage to reels or case they are left outside or in a hot or wet car, If the tape wont move, hit it on a hard surface this generally causes less damage than carryon both sides. This frees the reels. ing the cassette in a pocket or purse. Rewind, then fast forward to free tight reels. We try to clean and repair the cases or replace inserts whenever possible. We will Dirty playing heads distort sound. Clean the also continue to circulate an unattractive tape heads. case if everything else is fine. Unlike most Try another tape machine. Maybe the problem other library materials, an audiobook goes is the player. out regardless of its used appearance. It has been our experience that a worn audiobook case seems to advertise the popularity How to Maintain Your Cassette Player of the tape, and circulation is not adversely Purchase a head cleaning kit and carefully folaffected by its appearance. low the directions. Be careful not to use too The popularity of audiobooks can somemuch alcohol cleaner or you can ruin your times be their undoing. Our copy of The player. Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough Consider buying a demagnitizer. This reduces finally wore out. In evaluating what to do the magnetic noise your tape head adds to the with the damaged tape, which we had tape you are playing. repaired several times, we decided to see how many times it had been circulated. To our These simple, economical steps can greatly surprise, it had been loaned 124 times! To enhance your tape listening pleasure. me, this is a testimonial to the format as well as to the novel itself!

Suppliers of Used Audiobooks

As audiobooks become more common in libraries, with collections growing and aging, it is inevitable that businesses would emerge that offer used or damaged audiobooks. ISIS Audio is one example. The firm offers a program that allows libraries to turn in their old audiobooks for credit toward future ISIS audiobook purchases. Amazingly, the publisher or condition of the audiobook doesnt matter to the firm, but audiobooks sent for credit

Acquiring, Processing & Maintaining Audiobooks


must be unabridged. In addition to ISIS, Landmark, and Blackstone also have used audiobooks for purchase. I can offer no comment on buying used material, however, since I have never bought any. I'm hesitant to do so, because of the varying durability of cases and even the tapes themselves.
Notes 1. Norman Oder, Audiovisual Rising: Demand, Budgets and Circulation are All Up. Library Journal (November 15, 1998) pp. 30-33. 2. Judy Byers, Words on Tape (Audio CP Publishers, 1997) p. 35.

Narrators & Narration

Other than the book itself, an important element in audiobook production is the narrator. In my opinion, when given a choice of narrators for a given title, the narrator is the most important criteria in selecting an audiobook. Since it takes time and experience to learn the ins and outs about narrators and narrating, this chapter is an attempt to present an overview based on what I've learned thus far. I readily admit that my opinions are quite personal and are based on my own experience. Among the other factors that I discuss in this chapter are the importance of narration, differences between American and British audio titles, and the impact of different accents on users. I believe that listening to an audiobook can be a better and richer experience, given the masterful talents of a skilled narrator. An exceptional audiobook narrator can use a cornucopia of accents, adopt the speech patterns of different time periods, or portray special characters. These portrayals can offer a wide range of emotion. One of the controversies in the audiobook community pertains to what to call the reading done on an audiobook. Some reviewers call it a performance and others describe it as a reading. Robin Whitten, the editor of AudioFile, refers to it simply as a narration, and I concur with her.3 Related to this question is what to call the audiobook listener. Are they readers or listeners? At least one audiobook company ends its tapes with the line, Thank you for being an audiobook reader. No matter how often I hear it, the term reader continues to annoy me. In my conversation and reviews I refer to these individuals as listeners. It seems more accurate, and it avoids confusion with the narrator, who is also referred to by many as the reader. Selectors should be aware that there are a number of narration styles, and that these may vary with the narrator or with a particular publisher. Most audiobooks generally fall into the fully voiced category, which is the most popular method. In a fully voiced narration, one narrator does all voices. The best narrators can make listeners forget that only one person is reading, and the most famous audiobook narrators almost always do fully voiced narrations. A multi-voiced narration uses several people taking the parts of various characters. These productions often feature sound effects and musical interludes. However, I believe that in some adult titles, multiple narrators can be an annoyance rather than an enhancement. Opinions will vary, and my advice is to seek feedback from your readers and watch your circulation statistics to determine local preference. On occasion you will find some reviews that refer to unvoiced narrations. This does not mean that the narration is emotionless, but rather that the book was given a basic, straightforward reading.

My Favorite Narrators
(In alphabetical order) Kate Binchy David Case (aka Frederick Davidson aka Edward Raleigh) Sally Darling Harlan Ellison George Guidall Mark Hammer Terrence Hardiman Peter Francis James Wanda McCaddon (aka Nadia May aka Donada Peters) Iona Morris Christian Rodska Barbara Rosenblatt Lynne Thigpen Samuel West Jeff Woodman


Narrators & Narration


Read by the Author

Some audiobook devotees believe that it is advantageous to have an author reading his or her own work. In my opinion, the author may not be the best choice. True, the author is the individual who has the best knowledge of the work and the characters. However, authors are not usually dramatically trained, despite their facility with words. It is truly unfortunate when an author does not recognize this. Some authors insist on doing their own reading, never realizing that a professionally trained narrator could deliver a better performance. There are exceptions, of course, and one example is Simon Brett. However, Brett was an actor and radio personality before he became a mystery writer. Some authors will acknowledge that they cannot read their own material, even when they possess storytelling ability. They may be tempted to edit their work as they read. Others may feel compelled to explain what they wrote, or simply find the experience is too emotional or embarrassing. The text is vital, and I dont underestimate the authors writing ability, but it takes both a good author and a good narrator to make a good audiobook.

Celebrity Narrators
In the early days of audiobooks, celebrities were frequently recruited as narrators. This helped to build sales and increase public awareness for the audiobook industry. Some of the major publishers such as Simon & Schuster, Harper, and Random House still use celebrity narrators. Keep in mind, though, that a narrator's Hollywood celebrity status does not necessarily make one a good narrator. Today, celebrities are still being featured, but the industry now has its own stable of highly talented readers who specialize in book narration. They may be unknown in Hollywood or Broadway, but they are stars in this special art form. A good narrator can add another dimension and depth to a book, and reveal meaning that the average person may have missed when reading the print edition.

Historical & Futuristic Time Periods

Books that are set in historical periods are particularly open to narrator enhancement. Fiona Buckleys To Shield the Queen, narrated by Nadia May, is an excellent example of this. It is possible to ascertain each characters class and different personality traits by listening to the narrators reading. Another good example is Edward Rutherfords London, as narrated by David Case. London is an amazing undertaking, because Case had to capture the diverse range of human speech from prehistory until today. Despite the incredible length of the unabridged version (31 tapes), the narrator managed to hold my interest. Still another excellent example, in an entirely different time frame, is Ben Bovas City of Darkness, narrated by Harlan Ellison. Normally, I dont like science fiction, and I would never have guessed that Ellison would be a master narrator. I was obligated to listen to this book because it had been nominated for an Audie Award, and I was one of the judges. Because of my bias regarding science fiction, I did not look forward to the experience. Instead, the narration blew me away, and I couldnt stop lis-

tening. The story is set in futuristic America. Ellison is brilliant in his interpretation of every characters voice. It might be the best audiobook Ive ever heard!

Audiobook Collections & Services

I must also provide a cautionary note regarding narrator accents: some patrons do not like non-American English accents. I would advise you to proceed slowly with British, Irish, Scottish, and Australian accents, until you gain better insight to listener preferences. Some companies note, on the box or in the catalog, whether the narrator has an accent. Generally, if a narrator is not completely sure of an accent, he or she should not attempt to create one. I think some of the worst narrations Ive heard are British narrator attempting to create southern, New York or other regional American accents. Some narrators specialize in regional characterizations, while others do period pieces with finesse. The specialists call upon their ability with accents as the need arises. For example, Barbara Rosenblatt (an American) does The Queen and I (a book about reversal of fortunes that visit Queen Elizabeth and her family) in a variety of high class, working class and Cockney accents, in a style rivaling real Brits.
Regional Audiobook Publishers
Audio Bookshelf (New England) August House (multiple regions) Leo Productions (Northwest) Various Indian Peoples (VIP) Publishing (American Indian)

Narration for Children

Childrens voices are another potential pitfall for audiobook publishers. If the narrators voice sounds too adult, an audience of young listeners will be turned off. Even an engaging storyline will not hold their interest. A good example of superior narration for children is The Cuckoos Child, by Suzanne Freeman, read by Christy Carlson Romano. I loved the storyline in The Cuckoos Child, and I easily identified with it. Mia returns to the United States from Beirut after her parents are lost at sea. She learns some pleasant and unpleasant truths as she is forced to grow up. The narrator did the adult voices particularly well. The aunt is the major character in this story, and the narrators interpretation of her was quite believable and appropriate for children. The quality of a narrators performance is often a matter of personal preference. There is a childrens author who reads her own work, and I feel it is poorly done, though I hear quite often that the performance is considered good, and some believe it is outstanding. The selectors knowledge of narrators who are popular among local listeners can greatly aid in selection, when there is some doubt about a purchase. If a choice must be made whether to buy an audiobook featuring a known or an unknown narrator, and if it is a major title, I will occasionally buy both, assuming both narrations are of good quality. One of the most insightful comments on narration that I have ever heard was said by Lynne Thigpen, in relation to her role as a narrator. She said she approaches the book she is about to narrate as if it was a piece of sheet music. She bestows her own interpretation on the book. Librarians have no hesitation in purchasing multiple interpretations of significant musical works. I believe a similar policy is appropriate in the selection of audiobooks.

Narrators & Narration


Outstanding Narrators AudioFile began to recognize outstanding narrators in 1997. To date, these
have included David Case, George Guidall, Martin Jarvis, Wanda McCaddon, Frank Muller, Christian Rodska, Barbara Rosenblatt, Jay O. Sanders, and Toni Morrison. Morrison initially recorded her own books in order to bring them to more people. British narrators often seem to have more radio experience in their backgrounds, which makes them especially suited for audiobooks. It is also common for the British to work in both adult and childrens books. For example, Christian Rodska has read Waughs Officers and Gentlemen, Delderfields To Serve Them All of My Days, Brough Girlings hilarious School Secretary on the Warpath, and the outrageous Switch Bitch by Roald Dahl. Some narrators use several different names to record. David Case is also Frederick Davidson and Edward Raleigh. Wanda McCaddon is Donada Peters and Nadia May. They may use varying names for different book series, publishers or specialties such as accents or historical periods. Many narrators say they love doing audiobooks because they get to read all the parts and make most of their own decisions regarding style and delivery. In audiobook narration, the most difficult decision is in deciding when to come on strong and when to hold back. In order not to overplay, the old axiom when in doubt, dont, seems a wise choice here. Evidence that a narrator is the perfect choice for a specific genre or an authors work is revealed when happy listeners come back for more materials read by that individual. Like movie stars, audiobook narrators are known for their repeat performances (e.g., Mark Hammer as Porfiry Rostnikov in Stuart Kaminskys glorious mystery series, and Barbara Rosenblatt as Dorothy Gilmans Mrs. Pollifax, to name just two). Patrons will listen to something they would never read if a favorite narrator does the book. There is even a fan club for Frank Muller, who is probably the most famous audiobook narrator today! He has recorded A Christmas Carol, The Horse Whisperer, Moby Dick, My Dog Skip and many others.

The Power of Effective Narration

Most audiobook listeners soon develop a list of favorite narrators, and this choice is primarily a very personal decision. I have my own favorite list, and I often come to my narrators defense whenever someone is critical of their performance. The critical ingredient, no matter who narrates, is a strong, clear voice that can be heard over street noises, loud conversations, and other disturbances. Narrators have become so important that company product catalogs and Words on Cassette 2000 both offer separate narrator indexes. Words is an audiobooks equivalent to Books in Print. It lists abridged and unabridged titles, includes indexes for author, reader/performer, subject, producer and distributor; and includes audience grade levels. Jeff Woodman is one of my favorite narrators. One of his best works is Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. I thought the

book was fantastic. This nonfiction story about real people's greed, lust, prejudices, etc., set in Savannah, Georgia, is so amazing it seems unbelievable. In analyzing why the book had such an impact upon me, I concluded that it was the southern accent used by Woodman that greatly contributed to the effectiveness of the performance. I thought all the characterizations were great until Lady Chablis appeared. She was magnificent. I became so impressed by her role in the book that I subsequently bought her book Hiding My Candy in both hardback and audio. Her book was good but she still shimmered most in Midnight. I was delighted to learn that she would be appearing in Chicago, and I attended her booksigning. It turned out that she wasnt nearly the delightful creature created by both Berendt and Woodman. The next morning my coworkers could hardly wait to hear my review. We concluded that Lady Chablis was so perfectly and successfully created that she could never have met my expectations. Reflecting upon my experience, Im still very surprised that I could have become so enamored by a character in a book and a reading. But I have concluded that this is an indication of the power of the written word and the added influence of an outstanding narration. I very much doubt that either television or a movie could be as powerful.

Audiobook Collections & Services

Author Commentary
Publishers have begun an excellent new trend of having the authors (in their own voices) provide either an introduction or commentary about the book at its conclusion. This is a wonderful bonus that further enhances the whole audiobook experience. One example I can cite was the opportunity to hear the voices of the Delany sisters at the end of Having Our Say, which is the story of Sadie Delany, age 104 and her 102-year-old sister, Bessie. They share their amazing and candid thoughts about growing up African American in the United States.
Notes 1. Clarissa Cruz, Lets Go to the Audiotape. Entertainment Weekly (July 23, 1999) pp. 6061. 2. Words on Cassette 2000. Bowker, New Providence, NJ. 3. Robin Whitten, Performed, Not Read. AudioFile (January, 1988) p. 12.

Public Service Policies & Procedures

Based on my experience, I believe that audiobooks should be subject to the same library procedures and policies that apply to books, music cassettes, CDs and juvenile realia. And, many of those policies and procedures can be applied to audiobooks with only minor changes. True, there are cost differences between print publications and audiobooks, especially for unabridged works, and there are some maintenance requirements, but these are not major factors in policy development. All aspects of preparing, offering, and checking out audiobooks are included here, including cataloging, interlibrary loan, the pros and cons of a rewinding policy and the value and flexibility of fees. I also cover security and censorship issues and include a policy on audiobook donations.

For those libraries that are starting an audiobook collection, a simple categorization can suffice, since three quarters of the collection will probably be fiction. Later, if patron demand or collection size requires it, I would recommend very simple brief cataloging for the unabridged nonfiction. Our collection existed without cataloging for eight years. Eventually, audiovisual department staff assigned and added simple catalog numbers. Since audiobook listening is often a family activity, I would recommend that the term family listening be added to the spine labels of appropriate titles. This would act much like the video designation family fare, which helps parents find materials suitable for a variety of ages.

Because of the popularity of the format, we estimate that more than 50 percent of the audiobook collection is in circulation at any one time. In the library where I work, all audiovisual material is located in one area of the library, but the childrens materials are shelved separately within the audiovisual department. The kids naturally gravitate to their own area until they get to the in-between age. If a young child is after an older video that is inappropriate for their age level, we try to redirect them. We follow that same policy for audiobooks. There is minimal shelf division. We separate the abridged and unabridged editions, and within these divisions we separate the fiction, nonfiction, and juvenile titles. Depending on the availability of materials, we will further separate the collection by genre. Of course, fiction is shelved in the same way as booksby author, then by title. Good clear labels and signs are provided to guide our patrons. When we first established the collection, it was primarily organized for browsing. A well-developed collection


sells itself and encourages patrons to learn as they look. New titles should be so labeled and separated from the general collection. When the collection is new and growing, some patrons will go through all of the older titles, and they will be dying to see the latest acquisitions. We use spine labels for our young adult fiction titles, but they are intershelved with adult titles. Parents and caregivers choosing audiobooks for kids often gravitate toward what they know. Of course, these will be in your collection, but you need to guide them to new titles of quality.

Audiobook Collections & Services

Loan Periods
Unless the beginning audiobook collection is prohibitively small, I would recommend that audiobooks have the same loan periods as books. However, I believe it is appropriate to limit the number of books on tape that can be checked out at one time if you fear that the collection will be quickly depleted. As the collection grows, this restriction can be lifted. In our library the loan period for audiobooks is three weeks with an additional renewal of three weeks. Items may be renewed by phone or in person (unless they are overdue). Until we experienced some severe recent losses, we had no limits on the number of audiovisual items a patron could borrow. We now limit CDs and videos, but patrons can borrow an unlimited number of audiobooks. Because of the nature of the format, it is vital that the audiobook case be carefully examined before it is removed from the borrowers record. This procedure is to ensure that no tapes are missing or that the wrong tapes are being returned in the case, and it is the only chance the staff will have to know exactly who was the last person to borrow the item. This precaution will avoid or reduce confrontations with borrowers who may claim that tapes were missing when they borrowed the item. Never deviate from this procedure if you want your staff to be on firm ground in handling customer service problems. Outside of each case should be a clearly visible label stating how many tapes comprise each set. This is a wonderful aid for patrons and staff alike.

Interlibrary Loan
Our library has an unusual and unpopular policywe do not interlibrary loan our audiovisual materials. We require that materials that are loaned from our library be returned to our library and nowhere else. We developed this policy because of the potential for damage to audiovisual materials, which are more fragile than other items in the library collection. In the Chicago metropolitan area where our library is located, interlibrary delivery is via mail or delivery truck. All books and audiovisual resources are placed in open bins that are moved around in a walk-in delivery truck, and there is a greater likelihood of damage. Because we have this restriction, we are unable to get audiovisual materials via interlibrary loan for our patrons from other libraries. However, since our audiovisual collection is well-funded and we encourage patron suggestions for purchases, few (if any) of our patrons even notice that they cannot get audiovisual items from other libraries. We do, however, allow anyone with a reciprocal card that is in

Public Service Policies & Procedures


good standing to borrow audiovisual materials from our library if they make a trip to our library. To ensure that audiovisual materials borrowed from our library are returned directly to us, we have added a label on all our cassettes and other audiovisual resources that reads Only to be returned to Oak Lawn Library. No exceptions. This reminder works for most people, although on occasion we have to remind them if they dont follow the policy.

Not rewinding a tape can be a great irritation to the patron since the continuation of the story hinges on this. After many, many complaints we decided to charge patrons 25 for each tape that we had to rewind. In theory, this may sound fairly reasonable. However, we eliminated the policy after several frustrating months. The problem of enforcing the penalty and then having to physically rewind each tape took its toll on the staff. We quietly stopped enforcing the policy, and we now rely on a please rewind label on the inside of the tape case. The problem has decreased as people adjusted to this format.

Borrowers Fees
As with loan periods, I would recommend that libraries charge the same fines for audiobooks as they charge for print books. Very few libraries charge patrons a fee to borrow audiobooks. Only 1 percent of those surveyed several years ago by Library Journal reported that they charge a fee for this format. This compares to 14 percent who charge for borrowing videotapes.1

We do not have security tags in our audiobooks. Our policy is to only use them for selected books, videos and some music CDs. Very few audiobooks are stolen. I learned this from conversations with staff in other libraries, and this was reinforced by discussions with our security systems sales representative. Retail stores that sell only audiobooks have the same experience.

Donation Policies& Practice

As audiobooks have increased in popularity, we have begun to receive donations from our patrons. These are primarily abridged titles. It is our policy to encourage these contributions, and over the past several years we have been able to add several hundred titles to strengthen our collection. Few donations are on such a grand scale as one we got from a truck driver. He brought in five large boxes, primarily full of abridged titles. His taste was excellent, and his contribution enriched and broadened our collection. Careful consideration should be given to preparing a collection development policy that permits this type of contribution, and avoids problems if donations are inappropriate. We receive an average of six to eight abridged audiobook donations per month. It is our policy to place a special donation label on all audiobooks we add to the collection. In general, however, we handle audiobook donations in the same fashion as we handle all other library donations.

40 Censorship
Since the same selection policies and procedures that govern most library materials also apply to audiobooks, one would assume that the same censorship issues would occur. But that assumption is wrong! In my 15 years of experience at the Oak Lawn Public Library, I have not had one attempt at censorship of an audiobook. I do not believe our library is unique in this experience with audiobooks. I searched through the American Library Associations Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom for the period from 1987 through 1999, and I found no mention of censorship threats involving audiobooks. I wanted to be sure, so I called the ALA office and learned that they had record of only one attempt at censorship involving audiobooks. It occurred in 1995 in Maryland when Not without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody was challenged. The book involves a woman who left Iran and who faced the possibility of being unable to take her child with her. It was considered insensitive. However, it was not removed from the owning librarys collection. That is all I could learn of the incident. Im proud of this fine record for one of the best services offered by public libraries. However, I will explain how we handle items that are found objectionable by our patrons.

Audiobook Collections & Services

Responding to Complaints
When a person has a complaint about library material, it is the policy of our library to explain to the patron that the purpose of the library is to provide diverse materials to appeal to the varied tastes of the library community. An unemotional give-and-take conversation may suffice. However, if the person persists, we will use all of the tools and procedures recommended by the ALA. This will include reviewing our librarys mission statement, the Freedom to Read Statement, Library Bill of Rights, and the Statement of Professional Ethics with the patron. The individual is encouraged to read all of these items to understand the librarys purpose and position regarding its collection. Along with this, the individual is given a form entitled Citizens Request for Reconsideration of Library Material (see figure 6.1). The person is encouraged to review this and to complete the form if he or she still desires to request reconsideration of the material. A copy of our reconsideration form can be found at the end of this chapter.2 After the library director receives the reconsideration form, the Board of Trustees is informed and the director forms an ad hoc committee of three staff librarians to review the material in question. When the committee reaches a decision, the board and the complainant receive letters informing them of the committees decision. If the patron is dissatisfied with the findings of the staff committee, he or she may bring the objection before the Library Board. The complainant can request permission to address the board in the event the material is not removed from the collection. The boards final decision is based on the librarys material selection policy and staff input. I have never witnessed a complaint that required final action by the board, but I have dealt with several objections involving materials other than audiobooks. In handling any censorship attempt, it is crucial that the library have

Public Service Policies & Procedures


a well-developed procedure in place. An orderly process will deter arbitrary complaints and reduce emotional pressures from special interest groups seeking to impose their own standards upon the community.
Figure 6.1. Oak Lawns Citizens Request for Reconsideration of Library Material

Notes 1. Norman Oder, AV Rising: Demand, Budgets and Circulation are All Up. Library Journal (November 15, 1988) pp. 30-33. 2. Oak Lawn Public Library. Library Mission Statement and Other Documents to Support the Citizens Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials.

Marketing Methods for Audiobooks

As the term audiobook becomes more and more familiar to the general public, it becomes easier to market the product. Few items in a library collection enjoy such excellent marketing from a range of unusual or unexpected sourcessome of which will be highlighted here. Radio, newspapers, magazines and even Roger Ebert (as I explain below) eagerly sing the praises of the audiobook experience. More companies are coming up with clever shelving, posters, stickers and other promotional materials to assist librarians with their promotional endeavors. We also now have a multitude of awards, like the Audie Awards, especially for a wide range of audiobooks, and June is Audiobook Month. These two events are becoming more glamorous each year. I close with details about an audiobook discussion group that was offered at my library.

Industry Exposure
Libraries can benefit from the advertising sponsored by the APA and audiobook companies. Some indirect advertising also occurs when little snippets from popular audiobook titles are played on the radio, and in book or music shops. National Public Radio features many audiobooks, and NPR personalities such as Garrison Keillor and Baxter Black are regular audiobook narrators and authors. Parents can often get a taste of audiobooks when they attend a childs read-a-long in a local school or library. There are many ways in which the library can piggyback on these opportunities. I am always amazed how many people show me audiobook ads, or tell me about a new audiobook that was featured on television or radio. NPR has been a pioneer and a wonderful source for audiobook exposure. They will frequently mention new titles, and an excellent idea would be to place an audiobook on a small easel with a card noting Featured on NPR. Their feature for children, Rabbit Ears Radio, introduces kids to great literature, and the narrators include celebrities such as Mel Gibson. Libraries have received priceless help in promoting audiobooks from a variety of outside concerns. Audiobook companies and the APA have helped libraries to improve their marketing by running ads in strategic publications such as the New York Times Book Review, New Yorker, Armchair Detective, and Audiofile Magazine. Newspapers such as the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today and many others run features on audiobooks along with best seller lists and ads.1 Use your bulletin board to post these articles, and you will be surprised by the number of listeners who read the text, and place a reserve on the featured titles. Another sign that audiobooks have made it into the mainstream came


Marketing Methods for Audiobooks


via film critic Roger Ebert. In his column in the Chicago Sun Times on January 21, 2000, Ebert reviewed the movie Angelas Ashes. Ebert revealed that Frank McCourt honed his ability to share his autobiography at pubs over the years, from the easy familiarity you hear in the audiobook he recorded, the quickening rhythm of humor welling up from the description of grim memories. Some say audiobooks are not real books, but in the case of Angelas Ashes, the sound of the authors voice transforms the material with fondness and nostalgia. The whole sense of humor is mostly missing from Alan Parkers film version, which reminded me of Mark Twains description of a woman trying to swear: She knows the words, but not the music. On his television show, he went so far as to play a sample from the audiobook to illustrate his point. What a testimonial!

Promoting Your Collection

As we do with videos, we store and display our audiobooks on standard library shelving. When space permits, we display cases face-out on the shelving to attract browsers and new patrons who may be unfamiliar with our audiobook collection. Another alternative you may wish to consider is the newer browser display shelving that allows the patron to view the covers. One of the best things about audiobooks is that they fit in everywhere and can be promoted throughout the library. For example, I have signs in the large print area of our library informing patrons that many of these titles are also available on audio. These reminders can be added to bibliographies of regular books, large print, young adult, and childrens titles. Some audiobook companies sell posters or provide extra book covers that can be used for promotion. Companies also occasionally give away attractive posters promoting audiobooks or a particular title. The APA promotes June as Audiobook Month, and they provide considerable publicity as well as an annual poster. This is available from APA, audiobook companies, and as an insert in AudioFile. Many audiobook publishers offer free posters at their booths during state and national conferences. There are also many state, regional and national booksellers conferences with growing sections reserved for audiobook publishers and distributors. We store these freebies and use them as needed. Dont forget the library suppliers; many offer some excellent posters. Another subtle method to promote the collection is to purchase stickers that can be applied to other library resources. We use a sticker that says, Audiobooks are available for this title. Well use the stickers on CD movie soundtracks and videos. Offering audiobook listening areas throughout the library is another way to promote the collection. Personally, I would prefer to keep the listening stations in the audiovisual section where staff is available to assist the users, but it is best to be flexible. We do require patrons to check out the item before they can listen to it, which does offer staff some additional control.

Figure 7.1. Ordinary shelving can be used to store and display audiobooks.

Figure 7.2. Listening stations allow patrons to preview audiobooks.

44 Awards, or The Envelope, Please.

Each year, it seems there is another addition to the impressive range of awards for outstanding audiobooks. Each award most certainly helps to promote the work, and many libraries (and listeners) will be inclined to purchase an award winner. Often the publicity associated with the award will stimulate circulation or reserve requests for the title. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has an award for the best spoken word album of the year. There are awards for tapes in the childrens category and for comedy, as well. The Indie is presented (annually by the Association for Independent Music) for the best spoken word album. In addition, the Audio Publishers Association presents the Audie Awards which are the industrys equivalent of the Oscars. The Audies began in 1992, and there are now 29 categories. They recently added a new category called the Listeners Choice, which allows listeners who visit the APAs website ( to vote for their favorites. AudioFile presents its Earphone Awards to titles deemed outstanding when they are reviewed by the magazine. This is an ongoing award that is also compiled and publicized as an annual list. The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, presents annual awards for notable childrens recordings. A similar list is developed annually by the ALAs Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Recent listings of these titles appear in Chapter 3. Long-time audio critic Bennet Pomerantz presents his own Golden Headset Awards. Last, but certainly not least, the (British) Spoken Word Publishing Association recognizes excellence with its Talkies. Take advantage of these awards by posting announcements on your librarys bulletin board, and developing displays featuring the award winners. Brochures listing the winners are available from some of these organizations. If not, ask permission to develop your own list, making certain to note which titles are in your librarys collection.

Audiobook Collections & Services

Audiobook Month
June is Audiobook Month, and you may want to use this opportunity for special programs and exhibits. Consider developing a news release for your local newspapers or radio stations. Use the posters (available from APA; for their current address see page 11) as well as the related buttons and postcards. AudioFile provides free issues of the magazine (contact information is in Appendix C). Many of these promotional items are available at book or audio shops and anywhere else audiobooks are sold. Our society seems fixated on best of lists. They appear in popular magazines, newspapers, radio, television, the net, and audiobook retail outlets. Dont be left out! Why not have your patrons share their favorite audiobook with you? Then use the information for a program, display, flyer or any other creative idea to help your library celebrate Audiobook Month. To put you in the right mood, here is my list of the best creative promotional ideas for the librarys audiobook collection. All can be easily and quickly done, at little or no cost.

Marketing Methods for Audiobook


Creative Promotional Ideas for Your Audiobook Collection Sponsor a program on audiobooks, featuring an author, a narrator, or both. Play an appealing section of a new audiobook as a booktalk for kids and/or adults. Add audiobooks to your summer reading club. At your next orientation for teachers, suggest that they add audiobooks to their reading lists. Give them some suggested titles, or your best list. Sponsor an audiobook discussion group. (I did, and it worked very well.) See details below. Place audiobooks next to print, soundtracks or videos of the same title. Mention the availability of audiobooks in book talks. Advertise or hand out bibliographies of audiobooks at related library programs (science fiction or mystery programs, Great Books groups, concerts, lectures, etc.) Offer annotated bibliographies on current issues, featuring both print and audiobooks. Encourage staff to gain familiarity with audiobooks. No marketing tool is better than an enthusiastic staff. Hand out lists of new titles that people can take with them as a reminder.

Audiobook Discussion Groups

One of my most interesting marketing activities was the development of an audiobook discussion group, and it may be a project other libraries might wish to consider. I initiated this program in 1996, after getting some feedback from some of our listeners. To promote participation in the group, I designed and distributed a modest flyer (see Figure 7.3). I also distributed a questionnaire to gather more information about potential participants and their interests. There was one major difference between this discussion series and the typical book discussion group. You will note that I emphasized that this discussion would be on the narration of the chosen books, and not the book itself. The flyers and questionnaires were distributed from the librarys audiovisual department and we told patrons that the questionnaires could either be left at the library or mailed back. We tried to ascertain what day(s) and time people would prefer. We received 43 responses. After evaluating the responses, we selected a date and publicized our first meeting. In advance of our first meeting, I contacted two of the largest audiobook companies and asked for a number of free copies, so each group member


Audiobook Collections & Services

had an assigned book to study approximately three weeks before the meeting. Both companies agreed to cooperate. The first session attracted 10 people, including our local audiobook sales representative. It began very well. No one dominated the discussion, and everyone participated. Having someone present who was associated with the audiobook industry helped stimulate the participants. One of the outcomes of the discussion was a decision by the group to collaborate in developing a bibliography of recommended audiobooks. We subsequently published and distributed the list to other interested patrons. The group decided to meet once a month at a fixed time. Several people regularly attended every discussion group meeting; others came and went. As we got more used to the activity, I changed the format to stimulate greater participation. Initially, all of us would listen to a portion of the same title. In subsequent sessions I would ask the participants to bring in something they liked. Each would play a segment for us to hear, and we would then disFigure 7.3. Flyer promoting participation in an audiobook discussion group. cuss the narration, led by the person who chose the title. This broadened the scope of our discussions, as very individual and specific tastes emerged. The selections were usually fiction, but some nonfiction was introduced. It was very enjoyable experience, but the attendance stayed low, about five to seven. Since it was time consuming for me to prepare for such a small number of people, I decided to end the series after six sessions. I believe we all became better listeners from our experience, and several of the participants expressed their disappointment that the discussion could not be continued. I miss the interplay, and I may restart the program in the future, given the growing popularity of audiobooks. I recently noticed that one of the Borders book stores in the Chicago area did something similar. Various libraries have contacted me about my experience with audiobook discussion groups, and I did a poster session for the Illinois Library Association, but I am unaware of how many other libraries have implemented such a program. Along the same line in planning childrens programming, why not try short passages from audiobooks as a way to initiate discussion? This is an excellent way to introduce a new concept. It will also strengthen listening skills, and serve as an interactive activity that will permit children to share their impressions and observations based on what they just heard. It is also

Marketing Methods for Audiobook


possible to lure reluctant readers by playing a bit of an audiobook for them. Afterwards, give them the option to either read the book or listen to the audiobook. Fortunately, more schools and teachers are using audiobooks to add variety to reading instruction. Videotapes are also a popular variation, but there are not as many classic stories that have been produced in video because of the greater production cost and the difficulty in converting some complex plots and language into film or video. It should be easier for teachers to find audiobook versions of many classics to incorporate into their lesson plans.
Notes 1. Horak, Terri. Audiobook Marketing Gets Bolder. Billboard (November 2, 1996) p. 63. 2. Rebates for Audiobook Month. Publishers Weekly (June 7, 1999) p. 43. 3. Rosenblum, Trudi M. APA lays groundwork for Audiobook Month. Publishers Weekly (June 7, 1999) p. 42.

Evaluating Audiobook Collections & Services

The task of selection and evaluation has become more difficult as the range and number of audiobook titles has increased. Publishers have dramatically increased their output, and licensing negotiations to convert new print books into audio editions is a major activity at national, regional, and state trade conferences. As more libraries have added audiobooks to their collections and increased budgetary allocations for this service, there has been a concurrent need to evaluate the program and its relationship to the librarys mission in the community. The purpose of this chapter is to offer some suggestions on evaluation of trends in the audiobook industry and suggested procedures for evaluation of library audiobook collections and services.

Strategic Planning
Most libraries today have created strategic long-range plans to fulfill their mission in the community, and this is the major mechanism for evaluation of the librarys services. Through the efforts of the Public Library Association (PLA), a planning process was developed to help public libraries of all sizes evaluate community needs, and develop meaningful goals, objectives, and strategies. The process provided guidance to library administrators and trustees on how to effectively involve staff, representatives from the community, as well as administration and governance in creating practical strategies that could measure effectiveness. The best resource on this process is Planning for Results: A Public Library Transformation Process, by Ethel Himmel and Bill Wilson with the ReVision Committee of the PLA (ALA, 1998). By integrating the audiobook program in the librarys master plan, duplication of effort can be avoided, and more consistent policies and procedures can be developed. A useful handbook is, Planning and Role Setting for Public Libraries, by Charles McClure, et al (ALA, 1987). This manual identified a wide range of roles appropriate for public libraries, and this has been useful to many institutions that wish to focus their resources. It is particularly important for a library that is initiating a new service such as audiobooks. For example, limited funds may dictate that the institution identify the audiobook collection as serving a recreational role in the community. As time passes, the collection increases, and community needs evolve, the role of the collection can change.

Statistical Evaluation
Every library keeps statistics on its usage for several purposes, including allocation of the materials budget, staffing, space planning, and assessment of user trends. The audiobook collection is no exception. The following


Evaluating Audiobook Collections & Services


data needs to be collected and analyzed to effectively manage the program: Circulation by type (i.e., abridged and unabridged) Circulation by classification (i.e., fiction and nonfiction) Circulation by subclass (i.e., genre and subject) Circulation by age level (i.e., adult, young adult, and juvenile) Inventory or holdings Borrowers Losses, and damage Reference assistance Traffic by day of the week and time of day Program attendance Patron requests (satisfied or unsatisfied)

Output Measures for Public Libraries (ALA, 1987) is a good resource for establishing standard procedures to measure usage. Many state library agencies and library systems also have standards to ensure consistency and accuracy. The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) and the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) are also active in the collection and interpretation of statistics. If your library has an automated catalog and circulation control system, it is possible to easily collect and analyze these statistics. Unfortunately, statistical reporting is not standardized in these automated systems, as yet. Moreover, many librarians are not fully aware of the potential of this statistical reporting. Managers who are responsible for the development and administration of the audiobook collection should review the options offered by these systems with their librarys technology specialist, or the vendors customer service staff. Development of an accurate statistical reporting package for the collection will make it easier to analyze usage, determine user preferences, identify gaps in the collection, and justify better funding. The PLA also compiles and publishes The Public Library Data Service (PLA, annual) which contains various statistics from many participating libraries. This comparative information can be useful in evaluating your librarys usage, collection, and funding.

Focus Groups
It is fairly common for many businesses to seek advice from their customers on new and existing products and services. One of the techniques they use is the focus group interview, and it can also be employed by libraries. This method involves selection and recruitment of persons who have some knowledge of the product or service. Specific questions are developed in advance of the group interview, and care is needed to avoid leading the participants toward a desired answer, and to avoid other forms of bias. For example, some questions appropriate for evaluating the audiobook collection might be the following:

Do you prefer abridgments or unabridged works? What is your opinion regarding the loan period for audiobooks? If the Library received a bequest for purchase of nonfiction audiobooks, what subjects would you recommend? While staff may conduct a focus group, it is often best to engage someone who is not directly involved in the service being evaluated. This will permit greater objectivity, and the discussion leader can report the results to the staff who are responsible for the program. Often a skilled volunteer can be recruited to conduct the focus group session, and staff can review the questions in advance. The leader must have experience as a discussion leader, for it takes skill to keep the discussion on target, and gain participation from the entire group. It is also important to keep the group relatively small to encourage the sharing of ideas; ten to twelve persons would be ideal. A comfortable meeting room with coffee, tea, and soft drinks would be desirable. Businesses often pay participants for their time and ideas, but libraries should not need to allocate funds for this purpose. Most library users would be flattered to be asked for their opinions, and they would realize that their involvement would help strengthen the program to benefit the community.

Audiobook Collections & Services

Sampling & Surveys

While the previous methods are very helpful in evaluating the audiobook program, I have a personal bias in favor of surveys based on a sampling of the collections users. These surveys can provide anecdotal information that is very valuable to me in selecting new titles, and refining our service policies and procedures. A statistician may question the validity of my sampling, since the participants are all audiobook fans, and the surveys generally involve less than 50 patrons. However, I can learn more about the preferences of my listeners through these surveys than from analyzing a sheaf of computer printouts. For example, in order to evaluate whether our present selection policies and collection development goals were satisfactory to the Oak Lawn Public Librarys patrons, I formulated a brief and simple questionnaire for distribution in the library. I also wanted to learn audiobook listeners impressions about particular narrators and gain insight into their favorite narrators. The staff at the librarys audiovisual desk were wonderful in encouraging people to share their favorites. I tried to keep all of my questionnaires very brief, based on our assumption that brevity will guarantee a greater response. The following is a summary of our questions and our listeners responses to this survey. I have also included direct quotations, since some patrons were quite specific. Because the staff played a role in encouraging patrons to complete the surveys, some might assume that the staff may have influenced voting. However, I believe that most of our patrons felt free to give an honest response based on their preferences and opinions.

Evaluating Audiobook Collections & Services


Do you have a favorite narrator(s)? If so, who are they? Top choices were George Guidall and Barbara Rosenblatt, followed by Frank Muller, Michael Prichard and Mark Hammer. Other popular narrators were: Prunella Scales, Mary Peiffer, Jeff Woodman, Ron McLarity and Lynne Thigpen. Each of the following narrators were also mentioned: Nelson Runger, Barbara Caruso, C. J. Critt, Richard Poe, Simon Brett, Ian McShane, William Gaminera, Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Aiden Gillan, Sian Phillips, Stephanie Beecham, Gene Eugene, Richard Ferrone, and Richard Davidson. Very few people reported that they had no particular favorites. Among the comments we received were the following: Ron McLarty reading Bill Brysons Walk in the Woods has great comedic timing. We laughed so much that we had to turn it off while driving so we wouldnt have an accident If the book is good, I dont care who the narrator is. Mark Hammer makes Stuart Kaminskys Russian characters really believable. He has a nice deep and even voice. If the author is good, I really enjoy hearing an author read his/her own work. I love Angela Lansburys voice. Most of my favorite narrators record for Recorded Books; but I also like Michael Prichard, who reads for Books on Tape. I thought the British author Alex Jennings did an excellent job reading The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper (Listening Library, 1999). On the childrens front, Stockard Channing is excellent in her reading of Beverly Clearys Ramona series, and Paula Denzinger excels at reading her own titles. George Guidall is my favorite, hands down! I like readers who can subtly change their voice to reflect the different characters, and read clearly and smoothly, with expression but not intrusiveness. My least favorite is Flo Gibson, because of her gravelly voice, which makes the reading hard to understand. I also do not like the reader of Prince of Tides, Frank something (Muller) because he gasps constantly; its very distracting. Our listeners, as the examples reveal, are not hesitant to voice their opinions on the quality of the narration. Although I can cite no study to verify this, my personal opinion is that this would be true of listeners in most libraries. I would have no hesitation in recommending brief surveys as a simple and effective means of evaluating any librarys selection policies. I previously mentioned the fact that some people do not like foreign accents. Here is one patrons comment on that issue: I have difficulty understanding anyone who is not American. I have difficulty following their narration, and the book loses all meaning for me.

Specialized Surveys
In support of my theory that audiobooks promote reading, I formulated a short painless survey that even the busiest patron couldnt turn down. The target question was simply:

Have you gone on to read the book after you have listened to it? Or read other books by the same author? Or read books on the same subject? Actually I often read the book as I listen to the tape. Also, I do become interested in the authors other titles after hearing an audiobook. I have listened to books that I read previously, though usually books Id read years ago and wanted to read again. Listening to an authors book has inspired me to read others, especially Anne Tyler. After listening to an audiobook I have often gone out to buy the print version to read. I have also gone to see movies or plays after Ive listened to the audiobook. There are three different answers to your question. I broke this question into ab-c. (A) Sometimes I will read parts of it to savor certain passages. (B) Often. The audiobook is my first introduction to a particular author. If I like the book I will look for and read other books by the same author. (C) Most of what I read is fiction. Because of the nature of my job, I use abridged audiobooks to get a sense of some of the bestselling authors I would not necessarily read, or that I dont have time to read in print form. I have not read books which I have listened to in audiobook format, but I will listen to a good book for a second time. I have often used an audiobook as a springboard to borrowing other print materials by a particular author. Although I listen to both fiction and nonfiction, I would not read another nonfiction book on the same topic. I seldom if ever read the book after I have listened to it on tape. Similarly, I generally do not read books by the author whose book I have listened to on tape. But I frequently read books (e.g. travel, adventure, detective fiction) which cover the same subject matter as the books on tape. No to each question; thats why I enjoy audiobooks. My eyesight is too poor to see the small print anymore. While I was able to read, I would get books by the same author. A number of the respondents to my brief survey gave only a simple yes or no to the questions. However, an overwhelming majority of these individuals expressed their opinion that listening to audiobooks does promote reading, specifically reading titles by the same author. A similar proportion indicated that after listening to an audiobook on a given subject, they would be inclined to read other print books on the subject. It seems to me that those who love the written word almost equally love the spoken word. Both activities enhance or compliment each other and round out our lives as literate human beings. Concurrent Listening Audiobooks are increasingly a concurrent activity. People can listen to them while they are driving, exercising, or conducting any number of boring, repetitive tasks. While our economy has certainly improved our lives, it has also increased the number of service or supportive jobs and activities that do not require 100% concentration. For example, truck drivers are popular consumers of audiobooks. Every major truck stop offers audio-

Audiobook Collections & Services

Evaluating Audiobook Collections & Services


books for purchase, and there are many commercial lending services for over-the-road truckers. One of our librarys patrons told me that audiobooks give me a chance to get through boring tasks that require little concentration. Things that were a drag are, now, almost painless because I have the company of a wonderful book. That sums up the freedom and pleasure that readers get from listening to books. Being pleasantly engaged has even helped people to lessen onthe-job stress. Reduction of career-related stress is another benefit not often noted. As our society becomes more and more complex, stress will inevitably increase. Audiobooks provide relief. As another example of stress in our everyday lives, the phenomenon of road rage is growing major concern as traffic builds in our superhighways. Many of our patrons make the library their last stop as they begin a vacation. They must stock up on their coveted audiobooks before they leave town. We even have a special vacation loan with an automatic renewal as an added convenience. As you evaluate and assess the trends that are emerging in our society, it should be clearly evident that audiobooks can play a major role in making life safer and more enriching. In order to better evaluate our borrowers needs, I decided to add a related question to my questionnaire. Most of the literature or information Ive seen regarding this has stated that people generally in the car when listening. That proved to be correct for a majority of the respondents to my survey. A small percentage listened while they were doing miscellaneous chores around their home, a few listened while they rested, and a smaller number listened while walking, exercising, or gardening. The following were more specific in their answers: What are you doing while you are listening to your audiobooks? I listen while I am commuting to work on the train. Im usually driving while listening. Thus, the narrator must be easy to understand. I listen in the car on a long trip. They make the time fly by and keep me from getting sleepy. I listen at home while doing chores or while sewing or needlepointing. I listen while I am at work inputting data on my computer. An audiobook is a wonderful way to share a book; two people can discuss it as they move along. I love to work on my crafts and listen. Listening to audiobooks has helped me to improve my listening skills. My children and I listen as we travel or while we are in a cabin or tent and sometimes before bed. While driving through the mountains, we rely on audiobooks because in the mountains the radio is useless. I listen before I go to sleep at night, or if I awaken in the middle of the night. I listen to audiobooks while lying on my back, for I have back trouble.

The most eloquent reply I received was:

Audiobook Collections & Services

I like to savor the details and writing style of the author of the audiobook. I usually listen to the tapes in the same type of quiet, secluded area in which I read books. I am probably in a distinct minority, but I cannot enjoy listening to tapes while I am driving or exercising. I get too distracted by the traffic or the exertion and I therefore do not get the maximum enjoyment from the tape. In summary, evaluation of the librarys audiobook service can be accomplished by assessing progress toward the goals set for the collection and the program in the librarys strategic long range plan, by statistically analyzing the circulation of the various categories of audiobooks, by keeping aware of national trends and surveys, and by local surveys and sampling. All these methods can provide answers to the staff, administration, and governance who need feedback on progress and patron satisfaction, budget allocation, space requirements and staffing. However, I believe that brief surveys and patron sampling can often reveal the details that can bring the service and collection to life. The anecdotal information we collect gives us the feedback we need to avoid or correct problems.

National Trends
Along with looking ahead, it is most gratifying to examine the phenomenal success of the audio bestsellers at the beginning of the millennium. The top place belongs to The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, Simon & Schuster Audio, which has sold 1.5 million. Second place belongs to Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus by John Gray, Harper Audio, with sales at 1 million. Garrison Keillor captures third place for News from Lake Wobegon at 500,000600,000, and at 400,000500,000 is Anthony Robbins with Awaken the Giant Within, Simon & Schuster.1 These numbers are reminiscent of rock or rap bestsellers. The Audio Publishers Association has done some analysis of industry growth. In 1998, the APAs National Family Opinion consumer market survey revealed that 21% of all American households have at least one audiobook listener. This is 75% greater than the findings of a similar survey conducted in 1995. The members of an average household listen to 14 books on tape per year. Forty percent of these audiophiles obtain some or all of their audiobooks from their public library. The survey results also offered a profile of the average audiobook fan. They are college educated, professional, and 30+ years old. Men listen to more titles per year, but overall, there are more female listeners.2 Contradictions There are some contradictory trends in some of the studies that reveal the limitations of surveys. For example, some surveys show that fiction is more popular than nonfiction while others state the opposite. Another contradiction pertains to listening patterns. One would assume that listening patterns parallel reading patterns. Not all studies are in agreement. The classics are a prime example of this. Many people confess that they are able to finish listening to a classic, but they never could finish reading it. Interestingly, Michener is an author whose name keeps coming up in this regard.
Although more and more bookstores offer audiobooks, libraries still have very little competition from other suppliers. In my experience, library users are usually deeply appreciative of the collection, since it reduces their need to purchase or rent their own audiobooks.

Evaluating Audiobook Collections & Services


Popular Genres My surveys reveal that audiophiles tend to borrow other recorded books by the same author and narrator. Few (if any) other materials in the library collection have ever given libraries more ways to link genres, formats, authors, and artists than audiobooks. An evaluation of the most popular audiobook topics would include fiction at the top, especially mysteries. In nonfiction, the most popular topics include religious/spiritual, personal growth, business, and humor. The latter topic is a perennial favorite.
Notes 1. Rosenblum, Trudi. Top of the Reel. Publishers Weekly (June 5, 2000) pp. 54-55. 2. National Family Opinion Survey. APA Newsletter (March, 1999) p. 10.

Future Trends
The more technologically advanced we become, the more difficult it is to look ahead in some respects. However, I do believe audiobooks on cassette will remain with us a good while. They are still the best-operating, easiestto-use format. Despite that, audiobooks are evolving, and we shall glimpse several possibilities that are already on the scene. The popularity of CDs continues to grow along with other opportunities offered by digital recording. Audiobooks are also a growing presence on the Internet. More and more audio producers have websites to promote their offerings. The Audio Publishers Association (APA) has begun a library outreach committee which bodes well for audiobooks and libraries, and the committee's goals are outlined. There's even a website devoted to dialog about audiobooks. I close using predictions from people in the audiobook field. Also, I throw in a few of my own thoughts to end as I begandiscussing a format I love!

New Formats
Audiobooks on CD became a more prominent format beginning in 1998. However, I believe it is still difficult to determine whether CDs will overcome the popularity of cassette tapes. Another disadvantage of CDs for the spoken word is that the listener cannot easily stop the CD and then pick up the narration where they stopped. Manufacturers are trying to overcome the difficulty of marking the stopping place on a CD audiobook but this is proving costly and problematic. The publics demand for CD is still not sufficient to warrant an exodus from tape. Also, the cassette tape is a convenient size, and tape players are still less expensive than CD players. Smudges on a CD will also cause skips. Nonetheless, some audiobook firms are beginning to offer listeners a choice. Chivers, Recorded Books, and Books on Tape are major firms in the industry, and all three (among a growing number of others) began selling audiobooks on compact disc in 2000. A number of other formats are being considered as replacements. These include the Digital Compact Cassette (DCC) minidiscs. However, this is still fairly new, as are Digital Versatile Discs (DVD). They offer various advantages, including the capacity to record on both sides of the disc. Amazingly, DVDs can hold seven times as much material as a CD.1 This may be a great asset for unabridged titles. Despite these advantages, it will take many years before the playback hardware reaches a major share of the market. There are also mixed opinions on the future potential of downloading


Future Trends


audiobooks via the Internet. Users can access and download audiobooks on an ever-increasing number of websites. One major advantage of the Internet is that international titles are much more accessible. However, the ease of downloading and copying makes it attractive to pirates. The possibility that royalties and license fees are not being paid to producers and others is a growing concern. No one likes the thought that they may be unknowingly violating international copyright regulations. Firms are making progress in improving their capability to encrypt and protect intellectual property, and governments are cooperating to combat piracy, but more progress is needed.2 Online bookstores such as have also had a growing impact on the audiobook market by increasing the consumer publics awareness of the format. In fact, sales have been sufficient to permit to justify adding an audiobook editor to its staff. Because audiotapes can be produced on demand, a large quantity of titles do not need to be stocked. Valuable warehouse storage space is not required by either the online distributors or the producers. According to studies by the APA, if a companys site is well done and kept up to date, there is excellent selling potential. Some speculate that the Internet is the future for audiobook selling. Despite these predictions, the APA Newsletter (March, 1999) reported that shockingly few companies are using audio on these sites! An encouraging event for librarians responsible for audiobooks is the formation of a new outreach committee on library issues by the Audio Publishers Association. The committee is made up of librarians and representatives from the audiobook industry. The following is an initial list of strategies the committee plans to implement to promote the use of audiobooks in libraries: More advertising in Library Journal, American Libraries, and Public Libraries to inform librarians about the role and mission of the APA. Greater publicity about Audiobook Month. Involvement of more librarians in APA, including on panels and committees, along with seminars at ALA and PLA. Free audiobooks for promotional purposes in libraries, which could be used for drawings and contests, as well as for discussion groups. Allocation of a portion of the APA website devoted to the use of audiobooks in libraries, and a discussion list where librarians and publishers can communicate about issues. Periodic library questionnaires and surveys to find out how APA could interact with the library market. Increased discussion on issues such as packaging and replacement tapes.

Publicity to better inform libraries about the APA/Bowker Audio Title Selector website. The Audio Publishers Association continues to be an excellent barometer of trends and future developments. Through its publications, publicity, research, and cooperation with the library community, it will have a pos-

itive effect on the development of quality standards, and a growing body of excellent productions.3, an on-line magazine, began in February 2000.4 I highly recommend a visit to where spoken word is spoken about. This delightful site includes new, rental, and used audiobooks for sale, downloadable audio samples, special features and reviews, staff picks, chat rooms, Caedmon, and many other goodies. Profiles of narrators, authors, and particular books are included. Best of all, small publishers and lesserknown titles are particularly sought out.

Audiobook Collections & Services

Other New Formats

MP3 (which stands for MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3) is a standard technology format for compressing sound into a small file about one-twelfth the size of the original file. Despite the compression, the process manages to preserve the original level of sound quality when it is played. MP3 files (which can be identified by the file name suffix of .mp3) are available for downloading from many different websites. You can also download a player from many popular MP3 sites. To create an MP3 file, you need to use a program called a ripper to get a selection from a CD onto your computers hard drive and another program called an encoder to convert the selection to an MP3 file. Most people, however, simply download MP3s from someone else and play them. At the present time, MP3 is primarily used for music, but recorded books in this format will certainly increase in the near future. offers over 10,000 pop, alternative, country, hip hop and spoken word tracks but as of now most are from lesser known artists. This will also change the purpose of many home computers, converting them into another sound system. If you prefer to use your MP3 as a radio, go to, where Internet radio stations are categorized by genre and also tell you what song is playing, how many people are listening and how good the transmission is at that moment. Many people in the entertainment industry claim that MP3 offers a considerable amount of pirated music, but there are few accurate studies that support that claim. Defenders of MP3 state that the format merely grants listeners the ability to gain greater variety in their listening.5 There has been considerable litigation and more is expected. One example of the application of the format is, developed by Gary Hustwit. This is a free service for authors and publishers. Visitors to the website can listen to samples of author readings. Each piece lasts three minutes and the purpose is to promote purchase of the book in either audio or print. Hustwit does not plan to limit his inventory to published writers; new writers are also able to take advantage of Another related technology is the e-book. Microsoft has introduced Microsoft Reader, which is software designed to display e-books on desktop or laptop PCs.7 Microsoft Reader and ClearType are also popular, because they make reading on a screen more like reading from paper. It is quite likely that e-books in the future will become hybrids, offering both print and audio.10 The latest news on e-books can be found at The site contains reviews and author/publisher information to introduce

Future Trends


and further promote e-books to new readers. What all of these present and upcoming technologies will mean to reading, listening, and audiobooks is anyones guess. In my opinion the wisest course would be to continue enjoying the wonderful world of audiobooks. But keep your ear to the ground and your eye on the world of computers. New technological developments occur daily. Ten years ago, few thought we would be going around with earphones stuck in our ears, listening to the latest bestseller or classic book.

Audiobook Publisher Websites

Another major trend in the audiobook industry is the increasing number of websites. Appendix A lists the websites of many of the major firms. What you get varies greatly. Naturally, many of the companies heavily promote their newest titles. They also offer audio samples that give the listeners a good chance to hear before buying or renting. Many of the websites require special software or plug-ins to access the sound. Many of the plug-ins can be downloaded free of charge. RealAudio is one of the software packages that permit listeners to hear or download audiobooks. Because most of my purchasing of audiobooks is handled by distributors, wholesalers, and publishers, my experience with online purchasing is limited. I cannot offer any strong recommendations. However, I would give the same advice for any buying situation: be sure to examine each companys returns policy, damage policy, replacements, discounts, turnaround time for delivery and replacement, and any time limits on which a policy is based. As you learn more about the audiobook companies, dont be afraid to experiment with the newer or more specialized firms. Examine their catalogs carefully (whether they are online or on paper), and you will get a better sense of their business policies. Check with your colleagues at other libraries to learn more. If your local or state library association does not have a discussion group or standing committee on audiobooks, consider starting one. There are several committees interested in audiobooks within the ALA, its divisions and round tables. The PLA, ALSC, YALSA, among many other units have groups that sponsor programs, develop standards, prepare publications, share information, and function as juries for awards. They can be found by checking the subject index in the ALA Handbook of Organization (Chicago: ALA, annual). This publication also contains major policy statements that relate to audiobooks, such as the intellectual freedom.

Predictions From the Experts

I have turned to the experts in the field to share what trends or predictions they have for audiobooks in the new millennium. What follows are predictions taken from a Publisher's Weekly article from January 20008: Digitization and downloading are important factors for future development of audio, because they circumvent space problems. Further downloading allows publishers to have all of their titles available at all times.

Richard Simtob of Talking Book World states, Current trends are better quality audiobooks, better narrators, quicker release dates. Future trends are wider availability of product through more retailers and through the Internet. The wish list of Larry Mallach of Borders: Packaging that can be displayed easier. Some titles have oversized boxes while others do not; standardized pricing; focus on formats. There are currently too many choices (abridged, unabridged, cassette, CD, etc.).

Audiobook Collections & Services

Advantage of Audiobooks
The continuing advantage that audiobooks have is the relatively low cost of cassette tape and players. Although computers are declining in price, and new technologies hold considerable promise, the availability of the cassette player in cars and homes makes it likely that this format will continue to be popular for the near future. The cassette player is reasonably durable, and a set of earphones permit the individual to listen to good works by outstanding narrators with absolute privacy. What could be better!
Notes 1. Crawford, Walt. Up to Speed on DVD. American Libraries (September, 1999) p. 7174. 2. Hilts, Paul. Redefining the Book. Publishers Weekly (June 7, 1999) p. 34. 3. Rosenblum, Trudi. APA Launches Audiobook Job Market. Publishers Weekly (September 6, 1999) pp. 36-37. 4. Rosenblum, Trudi. Audiobook Magazine to Debut on the Internet. Publishers Weekly (January 3, 2000) p. 37. 5. Cherry, Bob. Will Libraries Want Their MP3? Library Journal NetConnect (Spring, 2000) pp. 8-9. 6. Zeitchik, Steven M. Web Site Credited for MP3 Literature. Publishers Weekly (September 13, 1999) p.34. 7. Burk, Roberta. Dont Be Afraid of E-books. Library Journal (April 15, 2000) pp. 4245. 8. Dorman, David. The E-book: Pipe Dream or Potential for Disaster? American Libraries (February, 1999) pp. 36-38. 9. Rosenblum, Trudi. Audiobooks at the Millennium. Publishers Weekly (January 3, 2000) p. 35-37.

Audiobook Publishers & Distributors

The following companies include audiobook publishers and distributors, indicated with a P or D. Audio Book Contractors, Inc.
P.O. Box 40115 Washington, D.C. 20016-0115 Ph: 202-363-3429 Format: unabridged Subjects: childrens, classics, fiction Read mostly by Flo Gibson. E-mail: Format: unabridged Subjects: turns movie scripts into sound movies


80 Wood Lane London W12 OTT England E-mail: URL: Format: abridged Subjects: childrens, classics, fiction, mystery, nonfiction, drama, history, sports, travel

Audio Partners Publishing Corp. P

1133 High St., P.O. Box 6930 Auburn, CA 95604 Ph: 800-231-4261 Fax: 800-882-1840 E-mail: URL: Format: abridged and unabridged Subjects: great variety supplies Audio Editions and Cover to Cover (the only audiobook line with a Royal Warrant!)

BDD Audio Publishing (Bantam Doubleday Dell) P

2451 S. Wolf Rd. Des Plaines, IL 60018 Ph: 800-323-9872 E-mail: URL: Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: childrens, fiction, science fiction, nonfiction, biography, personal growth, poetry, travel

Audio Bookshelf

174 Prescott Hill Rd. Northport, ME 04849 Ph: 800-234-1713 Fax: 207-338-0370 URL: Format: unabridged Subjects: childrens, classics, fiction, nonfiction, biography, drama, history, poetry

Audio Renaissance Tapes

Audio Editions (See Audio Partners) Audio-Forum P

96 Broad Street Guilford, CT 06437 Ph: 800-243-1234 Fax: 888-453-4239 E-mail: URL: www Subjects: classics, fiction, nonfiction, history, personal growth, science, spirituality

5858 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 200 Los Angeles, CA 90036-4521 Ph: 800-266-2834 Fax: 213-939-6436 E-mail: URL: Format: abridged and unabridged Subjects: fiction, mystery, science fiction, nonfiction, biography, history, personal growth, spiritual

Thomas T. Beeler Publisher

August House

Audio Literature

370F West San Bruno San Bruno, CA 94066 Ph: 800-383-0174 Fax: 650-580-0235 URL: Format: abridged and unabridged Subjects: great variety, including fiction, nonfiction, self help, spirituality Distributor: Publisher's Group, Inc., 1-800-788-3123

P.O. Box 3223 Little Rock, Arkansas 72203-3223 Ph: 800-284-8784 Fax: 501-372-5579 E-mail: URL: Format: abridged Subjects: childrens, folk tales, humor, multicultural, storytelling

22 King St., P.O. Box 659 Hampton Falls, NH 03844-2414 Ph: 800-251-8726 Fax: 603-778-9025 E-mail: Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: classics, fiction, mystery, suspense, western, nonfiction, personal growth

Blackstone Audio Books, Inc.P, D

P.O. Box 969 Ashland, Oregon 97520 Ph: 800-729-2665 Fax: 800-482-9294 URL: Format: unabridged Subjects: classics, fiction, mystery, nonfiction, biography, history, personal growth, spirituality

Baker and Taylor Books

Audio Movies
8295 Happy Camp Rd. Moorpark, CA 93021 Ph: 805-529-4905 Fax: 805-529-5120

2709 Water Ridge Pkwy. Charlotte, NC 28217 Ph: 800-775-1800 Fax: 704-324-8989 E-mail: URL: Format: abridged and unabridged Subjects: all

Bolinda [Australian] (See Isis) Books in Motion

9922 East Montgomery, Ste. 31 Spokane, WA 99206 Ph: 800-752-3199 Fax: 509-922-1445 E-mail: URL: Format: unabridged

BBC Radio
BBC Radio Collection, Rm. A3132 BBC Worldwide


Subjects: classics, fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, suspense, western Format: abridged and unabridged Subjects: classics, fiction, mystery, nonfiction, personal growth

Audiobook Collections & Services

Subjects: childrens, classics

Hay House
P.O. Box 5100 Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100 Ph: 800-654-5126 Fax: 800-650-5115 E-mail: URL: Formats: abridged and unabridged Subject: personal growth, spirituality

Books on Tape, Inc.

P, D

Library Services 1609 Babcock St., P.O. Box 7900 Newport Beach, CA 92658 Ph: 800-541-5525 E-mail: URL: Format: abridged and unabridged Subjects: childrens, classics, fiction, mystery, nonfiction, biography, history, personal growth

Dove Audio

Brilliance Audio

P, D

New Star Media 8955 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90048 Ph: 800-368-3007 Fax: 310-247-2924 URL: Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: childrens, classics, fiction, mystery, science fiction, western, nonfiction, biography, personal growth

Health Communications, Inc.

Enterprise Center 3201 S.W. 15th St. Deerfield Beach, FL 33442 Ph: 800-441-5569 Fax: 800-424-7652 URL: Format: abridged Subject: personal growth

1704 Eaton Dr., P.O. Box 887 Grand Haven, MI 49417 Ph: 800-648-2312 E-mail: URL: Format: abridged and unabridged Subjects: classics, fiction, Harlequin and Silhouette Romance Series, mystery, suspense, nonfiction, biography

Dover Audio Thrift Classics

31 East 2nd St. Mineola, NY 11501-3582 Ph: 800-223-3130 Fax: 516-742-5049 Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: childrens, classics, fiction, poetry

HighBridge Co.

Caedmon (See Harper Audio) CareerTrack Publications

3085 Center Green Dr. Boulder, CO 80301 Ph: 800-336-9972 Fax: 800-622-6211 E-mail: customerservice@ URL: Format: unabridged Subjects: business, personal growth

Dual Dolphin Publishing P

P.O. Box 195008 Winter Springs, FL 32719-5008 Ph: 800-336-5746 Fax: 516-742-5049 Format: unabridged Subjects: childrens, classics, fiction, mystery, romance, western

1000 Westgate Dr. St. Paul, MN 55114 Ph: 800-782-5756 E-mail: highbridgeaudio@ URL: Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: childrens classics, fiction, mysteries, Star Wars, nonfiction, biography, personal growth, Prairie Home Companion

Family Classics Audio Books

New York State Theatre Institute 155 River St. Troy, NY 12180 Ph: 518-274-3200 Fax: 518-274-3815 E-mail: URL: Format: abridged Subjects: childrens, classics

Highsmith Inc.
W5527 Highway 106 PO Box 800 Fort Atkinson, WI 53538-0800 Ph: 800-558-2110 E-mail: URL: Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: childrens, classics, fiction, mystery, western, nonfiction, biography, personal growth

Chivers North America

P, D

P.O. Box 1450 Hampton, NH 03843-1450 Ph: 800-621-0182 Fax: 603-929-3890 Format: unabridged Subjects: classics, fiction, mystery, romance, nonfiction, biography

Harper Audio P

Commuter's Library
P.O. Box 3168 Falls Church, VA 22043 Ph: 800-643-0295 Fax: 702-237-3361 Format: unabridged Subjects: classics, spirituality

Harper Collins Publishers 100 Keystone Industrial Park Scranton, PA 18512-4621 Ph: 800-242-7737 Fax: 800-822-4090 URL: Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: fiction, nonfiction, personal growth, also supplies Caedmon

Ingram Audio
Ingram Book Co. 1 Ingram Blvd, P.O. Box 3006 LaVergne, TN 37086-1986 Ph: 800-937-8200 Fax: 800-976-0186 URL: Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: All

Cover to Cover (See Audio Partners) DH Audio (Durkin Hayes)

2221 Niagra Falls Rd. Niagara Falls, NY 14304 Ph: 800-962-5200

Harper/Childrens Audio
10 East 53rd St. New York, NY 10022-5299 Ph: 800-242-7737 Formats: abridged and unabridged

ISIS Publishing
P.O. Box 195758 Winter Springs, FL 32719-5758 Ph: 800-523-4773 Fax: 407-696-6065

Audiobook Publishers & Distributors

McNaughton AudioBound
Brodart Books 500 Arch Street Williamsport, PA 17705 Ph: 800-233-8467 Fax: 570-326-1479 E-mail: URL: Format: abridged and unabridged Services: distribution and lease of audiobooks on a variety of subjects

E-mail: Format: unabridged Subjects: Bolinda, Oasis, Soundings, classics, fiction, mystery, nonfiction, biography, travel

Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: childrens, classics, fiction, mystery, western, nonfiction, personal growth, spirituality, travel

Penton Overseas, Inc.

Jimcin Recordings
P.O. Box 536 Portsmouth, RI 02871 Ph: 800-538-3034 URL: Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: childrens, classics, fiction, nonfiction, biography, history

NewStar Media Inc. P

P.O. Box 2816 Van Nuys, CA 91404 Ph: 888-96Audio URL: Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: Only available on web

2470 Impala Dr. Carlsbad, CA 92008-7226 Ph: 760-431-0060 Fax: 760-431-8110 E-mail: URL: audiobooks/ab.html Subjects: foreign languages, personal growth

LA Theatre Works
681 Venice Blvd. Venice, CA 90291 Ph: 800-708-8863 Fax: 310-827-4949 E-mail: URL: Format: unabridged Subjects: live plays on audio

Publishing Mills Audio Books

P.O. Box 481006 Los Angeles, CA 90048 Ph: 800-722-8346 Fax: 310-858-5391 E-mail: URL: Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: fiction, nonfiction, history, humor, personal growth

Nightingale Conant

Landmark Audiobooks

4865 Sterling Dr. Boulder, CO 80301 Ph: 800-580-2989 Formats: abridged and unabridged Services: distribution and leasing of audiobooks on a wide variety of topics

7300 N. Lehigh Ave. Niles, IL 60714 Ph: 800-323-3938 Fax: 847-647-7145 E-mail: URL: Subjects: nonfiction, personal growth

Quality Books

NorthStar Audio Books

LEO Productions
P. O. Box 1333 Portland, OR 97207 Phone: 503-497-9163 Fax: 360-694-8808 E-mail: URL: Format: unabridged Subjects: childrens, classics, fiction, mystery, nonfiction, history

P.O. Box 129 Van Wyck, SC 29744 Ph: 800-522-2979 Fax: 803-286-4151 E-mail: URL: index.html Format: abridged Subjects: classics, fiction, nonfiction, biography, spirituality

1003 W. Pines Rd. Oregon, IL 61061-9680 Ph: 800-323-4241 Fax: 815-732-4499 E-mail: Formats: abridged and unabridged Services: distributor of a wide variety of audiobooks

Random House Audio Publishing Group P

201 East 50th St. New York, NY 10022 Ph: 800-726-0600 Fax: 800-659-2436 E-mail: URL: Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: childrens, classics, fiction, mystery, nonfiction, biography

Oasis (See Isis) Penguin Audiobooks (UK) P P

The Talking Book Shop 11 Wigmore St. London W1H9LB England Ph: 0171-491-4117 Fax: 0171-629-1966 URL: Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: childrens, classics, mysteries, science fiction, nonfiction, biography, drama, history, personal growth

Listening Library, Inc.

One Park Ave. Old Greenwich, CT 06870 Ph: 800-243-4504 Fax: 800-454-0606 E-mail: URL: Format: unabridged Subjects: childrens, classics

Recorded Books

P, D

Live Oak Media

P.O. Box 652 Pine Plains, NY 12567 Ph: 800-788-1121 Fax: 518-398-1070 E-mail: Format: unabridged Subjects: childrens, classics

Penguin Audiobooks (US)

375 Hudson St. New York, NY 10014 Ph: 800-631-8571 Fax: 800-227-9604 URL:

270 Skipjack Rd. Prince Frederick, MD 20678 Ph: 800-638-1304 Fax: 410-535-5499 E-mail: Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: childrens, classics, fiction, mystery, nonfiction, biography, history, personal growth

Simon and Schuster Audio

100 Front St. Riverside, NJ 08075

Ph: 800-223-2336 Fax: 800-445-6991 URL: index.cfm?areaid=45 Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: childrens, fiction, mystery, western, nonfiction, history, personal growth, spirituality Subjects: fiction, classics, mystery, science fiction, nonfiction, biography, history, spirituality

Audiobook Collections & Services

Fax: 415-995-2222 E-mail:

Twin Sisters Productions, Inc.

1340 Home Ave., Ste. D Akron, OH 44310-2570 Ph: 800-248-8946 Fax: 800-480-8946 URL: Format: abridged Subjects: childrens, educational

Coral Communications Group LLC

Nuevo Ondo 880 Fifth Ave., Ste. 8F New York, NY 10021 Ph: 212-249-8733

Soundelux Audio Publishing

37 Commercial Blvd. Novata, CA 94949 URL: audiopub/index.html Format: abridged Subjects: childrens, fiction, westerns, nonfiction, biography, history

Dove Audio P
301 North Canon Dr. Beverly Hills, CA 90210 Ph: 310-273-7722 URL:

Wayland Audio Visual

Sounds True Audio

413 S. Arthur Ave. Louisville, CO 80027 Ph: 800-353-9185 Fax: 303-665-5292 E-mail: URL: Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: nonfiction, history, personal growth, spirituality

210 East 86th St. New York, NY 10028 Ph: 800-813-1271 Fax: 800-221-8551 E-mail: Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: childrens fiction, nonfiction, personal growth

Kane Miller
P. O. Box 8515 La Jolla, CA 92038 Ph.: 858-456-0540 Fax: 858-456-9641 Email: URL:

Foreign Language Audiobook Publishers World Languages Audio-Forum

96 Broad Street Guilford, CT 06437 Ph: 800-243-1234 Fax: 888-453-4239 E-mail: URL: www

Latin Trading Corp.

P.O. Box 4055 539 H St., Ste. B Chula Vista, CA 91910 Ph: 619-427-7867

Spoken Arts

8 Lawn Ave. New Rochelle, NY 10801-4206 Ph: 800-326-4090 Fax: 914-633-4620 Format: unabridged Subjects: childrens book and tape sets

Libros Sin Fronteras

Sunset Productions
369 Montezuma, No. 416 Santa Fe, NM 87501 Ph: 800-829-5723 Fax: 505-471-8122 Formats: abridged and unabridged Subjects: childrens, classics, fiction, mystery, western, nonfiction, history

Olivia and Hill

PO Box 7396 Ann Arbor, MI 48107 Ph: 734-663-0235 Fax: 734-663-6590 E-mail: URL: www

P. O. Box 2085 Olympia, WA 98507-2085 Ph.: 800-454-2767 Fax: 360-357-4964 E-mail: URL:

Live Oak Media

P.O. Box 652 Pine Plains, NY 12567 Ph: 800-788-1121 Fax: 518-398-1070 E-mail:

Smithsonian Folkways P
955 L'Enfant Plaza, Ste. 7300 Washington, DC 20560 Ph: 800-410-9815 Fax: 202-287-7266 URL: www

Asian Languages Multi-Cultural Books

2880 Southfield Rd. Suite 183 Lathrup Village, MI 48076 Ph: 800-567-2220 Fax: 248-559-2465 E-mail: URL: www

The Teaching Company

7405 Alban Station Ct., Ste. A-107 Springfield, VA 22150-2318 Ph: 800-832-2412 Fax: 703-912-7756 URL: Format: unabridged Subjects: Best college classes on audio. All subjects.

Spanish Languages Barrons

250 Wireless Blvd. Hauppauge, NY 11788 Ph.: 631-434-3311 Fax: 631-434-3723 URL:

Native American Languages Various Indian Peoples (VIP) Publishing P

P. O. Box 833216 Richardson, TX 75083-3216 Ph: 800-776-0842 Fax: 972-671-3529 URL:

Time Warner Audio Books

3 Center Plaza Boston, MA 02108 Ph: 800-759-0190 URL: audiobooks/index.html Formats: abridged and unabridged

Childrens Book Press

246 First Street Suite 101 San Francisco, CA 94105 Ph.: 800-788-3123

Suppliers of Audio-Related Equipment & Materials

The following companies offer various items related to maintaining an audiobook collection. Shop around, since several sources are given for most products. Blackbourn
200 4th Ave. North Edgerton, MN Ph: 800-842-7550 Fax: 507-442-4313 E-mail: URL: Products: media packaging


Highsmith, Inc.
W5527 Highway 106 P.O. Box 800 Fort Atkinson, WI 53538-0800 Ph: 800-558-2110 Fax: 800-835-2329 E-mail: URL: Products: all types of library equipment and supplies, display shelving, media packaging

6370 Wise Ave. NW Canton, Ohio 44720 Ph: 800-442-5742 Fax: 330-490-2010 E-mail: URL: Products: media packaging

Brodart Co.
1609 Memorial Ave. Williamsport. PA 17705 Ph: 800-233-8959 Fax: 800-283-6007 URL: Products: general library materials, media packaging, display shelving

2011 W. Hastings Chicago, IL 60608 Ph: 800-444-4020 Fax: 312-942-0693 E-mail: URL: Products: media packaging

P.O. Box 7488 Madison, WI 53707-7488 Ph: 800-356-1200 Fax: 800-245-1329 URL: Products: general library suppliers, display shelving, media packaging

P.O. Box 4901 Syracuse, NY 13221-4901 Ph: 800-448-6160 Fax: 800-272-3418 URL: Products: general library supplies, display shelving, media packaging


Books and Journals

The following is a selected list of reference books on audiobook services and collection development, and professional journals that review audiobooks and offer articles and news on audiobooks. Reference Books Audio Publishers Association Resources Directory
Audio Publishers Assn. A comprehensive, annual list of publishers, distributors, and suppliers. ers and distributors are listed, and the Audie awards are included.


Kliatt: Reviews of Selected Paperback Books, Educational Software and Audiobooks
33 Bay State Rd. Wellesley, MA 02181 Ph./Fax: 617-237-2577 Reviews audiobooks for children and young adults.

Journals AudioFile: The Audiobook Review

Robin F. Whitten, ed. 37 Silver St. Portland, ME 04112-0109 Ph: 800-506-1212 E-mail: URL: Bimonthly publication offering reviews of abridged and unabridged titles. Several different editions or versions of the same title are often reviewed side by side. Also offers excellent articles, narrator profiles, featured subject resource lists, and upcoming releases. Listening Librarians column has news and ideas for librarians and teachers.

Library Journal
245 West 17th St. New York, NY 10011-5300 Ph: 212-463-6819 URL: Reviews popular abridged and unabridged audiobooks.

AudioFiles 1999 Audiobook Reference Guide, 6th ed.

AudioFile Publications, Inc., 1999 Offers a list of distributors, publishers and support services with detailed annual information about each company.

Publishers Weekly
249 W. 17th St. New York, NY 10011 Ph: 800-278-2991 URL: Contains excellent articles on the audiobook industry, as well as reviews (abridged and unabridged) and best seller lists (audiocassettes and CDs). Publishes the winners of the annual Listen Up and other industry awards. Be sure to read Audio Bits containing short news pieces.

Bowkers Directory of Audiocassettes for Children

R. R. Bowker New Providence, NJ 07974 Ph: 888-269-5372 URL: An annual selection tool that includes young adult, fiction, classics, and instructional audiobooks.

Billboard: The International News Weekly of Music and Home Entertainment

1515 Broadway New York, NY 10030 URL: Contains audiobook reviews and occasional audiobook articles. There is also an annual issue devoted to audiobooks.

Book: The Magazine for the Reading Life

4645 N. Rockwell Chicago, IL 60625 Ph: 800-317-book Reviews abridged and unabridged audiobooks.

School Library Journal

249 W. 17th St. New York, NY 10011 Ph: 212-463-6759 Fax: 212-463-6689 URL: Offers audiobook reviews and occasional articles on audiobook collection development and services.

Talking Business: The Voice of the Spoken Word Industry

Square One Publishing Ltd. 9/10 Barnard Mews London SW11 1QU England Ph: 0171-801-0104 Fax: 0171-801-0105 This is an excellent source on audiobook trends in the U.K.

50 E. Huron Street Chicago, IL 60611 Ph: 630-892-7465 URL: Reviews of adult and juvenile audiobooks. Annual Editors Choice awards to best audiobooks.

Teacher Librarian: the Journal for School Library Professionals

(formerly Emergency Librarian) Box 34069 Dept. 284 Seattle, WA 98124-1069 Ph: 604-925-0266 Fax: 604-925-0566 E-mail: Contains occasional articles on audiobook services, and an annual list of best audiobooks for youth.

Words on Cassette
R. R. Bowker 121 Chanlon Rd. New Providence, NJ 07974 Ph: 800-521-8110 Fax: 908-665-6688 This annual version of Books in Print for abridged and unabridged audiobooks offers access by author, subject, title, and narrator. Audiobook produc-

Horn Book Magazine

11 Beacon St. Boston, MA 02108 URL: Offers detailed reviews of audiobooks for children and young adults.


Audiobook Classics
The following is a selected list of classic audiobooks recommended for inclusion in libraries. A code indicating the publisher and/or distributor is listed following each entry. Refer to the key to interpret the code, and Appendix A for the address or telephone number of the publisher or distributor.



Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol.

Scrooge and Tiny Tim speak to us in this timeless holiday classic.

Jewett, Sarah Orne. A White Heron and Other New England Tales.
A wonderfully presented selection of New England Americana. [AB]

. Great Expectations.
Travel through the ever-changing life of Pip as he grows up AP, BL, BM, BOT, BR, CC, LE, RB

Keller, Helen. The Story of My Life.

The wonderful story of how a young girl deals with blindness and deafness.
[ABC, BL, BOT, Jim, RB]

Bierce, Ambrose. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.

This classic story, plus others like it, are presented by Mark Hammer. [RB]

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment.

The most disturbing murder story ever.

Kesey, Ken. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.

This a stunning story of life inside a mental institution from the perspective of the patients. [BL, RB]

Bligh, William. Mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty.

There are many opinions regarding Blighs objectivity in profiling himself and Fletcher Christian in this fictional recreation of the 1789 Mutiny. Listen and decide for yourself. [BL, BOT, RB]

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.

The classic tale of a mans triumph over the prejudice of the times. [BL,
BOT, Jim, Peng, RB]

Keyes, Daniel. Flowers for Algernon.

A classic young adult science fiction story of a mentally handicapped young mans recovery after daring medical experimentation. The movie Charly was based on this book. [RB]

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451.

Every librarians nightmare turns into reality in this futuristic story of book burning. [BOT, CH, RB]

Doyle, Arthur Conan. Sherlock Holmes.

Holmes and Watson will never grow old or out of date. [CL, Der, DD, Har,
High, LL]

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird

Sally Darling is sublime as Jem, Scout, and Atticus.[RB]

Bront, Charlotte. Jane Eyre.

A wonderful enhancement to the story of Jane, Mr. Rochester and company.

Faulkner, William. The Reivers.

Eleven-year-old Lucius Priest grows up fast when he and the familys handyman borrow his grandfathers car and have quite an adventure.[BR, RB]

London, Jack. The Call of the Wild and To Build a Fire.

Londons stark imagery comes to life in this audio. It features these and other classic London short stories. [BR]

Bront, Emily. Wuthering Heights.

The sublime classic comes alive.

Gipson, Fred. Old Yeller.

A young boy and his big dog have great adventures in the Texas wilderness. [BOT, RB]

Pasternak, Boris. Dr. Zhivago.

This is a splendid story of Yuri Zhivago and life in the first half of twentieth century Russia. [CH]

Cooper, James Fenimore. The Last of the Mohicans.

Still a thrilling, action-packed adventure. [ABC, BL, BOT, BR, Jim, NS]

Grossmith, George. The Diary of a Nobody.

This is great humor, literally the diary of a small man who truly feels his every thought and utterance are significant.

Paton, Alan. Cry, the Beloved Country.

Maggie Sobol narrates this complex and magnificent story of the struggle for freedom in South Africa. [RB]

Dante. The Divine Comedy.

The pain and glory of the journey through heaven, hell, and purgatory is majestically depicted in this great poem. [BL]

Porter, Eleanor H. Pollyanna.

A moving look at a cheerful young girl and how she influences those around her. [ABC, BL, BOT, CH, RB]

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter.

Early American marriage and morality are the background of this story of adultery. [ABC, BL, BM, BOT, BR, Jim,


Shakespeare, William. Collected Works.
The magnificent narration recreates the times. [AB, ABC, DH, High, LA, LL,

Audiobook Collections & Services

Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Toms Cabin.

The classic story of an old black man living in white America in the 1800s.
[ABC, BL, BR, Jim, RB]

Key to Distributors
[AB] Audio Book [ABC] Audio Book Contractors [AF] Audio Forum [AH] August House [AP] Audio Partners [AR] Audio Renaissance [Ba] Bantam [BDD] Bantam Doubleday Dell [BE] Beeler [BL] Blackstone [BM] Books in Motion [BOT] Books on Tape [BR] Brilliance [Cae] Caedmon [CC] Cover to Cover [CH] Chivers [CL] Commuters Library [DD] Dual Dolphin [Der] Dercum [DH] Durkin Harp [FA] Fine Arts [Ha] Halvorson [Har] Harper Audio [High] Highsmith [Highbr] Highbridge [Jim] Jimcin [KT] KidTel [LA] L.A. Theatre [LE] Literate Ear [LL] Listening Library [LO] Live Oak [LP] Listen for Pleasure [NS] New Star [OH] Olivia and Hill [Peng] Penguin [PP] Piglet Press [RB] Recorded Books [SS] Simon & Schuster [Sou] Soundelux [TW] Time Warner [UL] Ulverscroft

Childrens Audiobooks
The following is a selected list of recommended childrens audiobooks appropriate for all libraries that serve children. The age level for these titles is PK5th grade, unless otherwise indicated. A code indicating the publisher and/or distributor is listed following each entry. Refer to the key to interpret the code, and Appendix A for the address or telephone number of the publisher or distributor. Avi. Blue Heron.
A moving story of a twelve year old girl who confronts death, a stepmother and a gorgeous bird. [RB]


the Nazis. [RB]

Christopher, Matt. The Kid Who Only Hit Homers.

Young sports fans will be captivated whether they choose Christophers fiction or nonfiction. [CH, LL, RB]

Hamilton, Virginia. Various titles.

Hamiltons brilliant stories are read by excellent narrators such as Lynne Thigpen, the perfect combination of voice and story. [RB]

Coville, Bruce. Various titles.

Coville can do anything for childrenenliven history, Shakespeare or magic.
[CH, High, LL, RB]

Jiang, Ji-li. Red Scarf Girl: a Memoir of the Cultural Revolution.

This is a true story for older children about a Chinese girl and her family as they confront the Cultural Revolution.

Dickinson, Peter. Chuck and Danielle.

Andrew Sachs introduces us to Danielle and Chuck, her lovely whippet. [LL]

King-Smith, Dick. Babe: The Gallant Pig.

The wonderful Babe movies were based on this novel, which now comes to life on audio. [LL]

Erickson, John R. Hank the Cowdog Series.

Small and reluctant readers will be thrilled by Hanks great adventures.

Banford, Henrietta. Spacebaby.

Prunella Scales splendidly introduces us to an alien baby, a talking dog and some very typical earthlings. [CH]

Paulsen, Gary. Various titles.

The only thing more wonderful than reading a Gary Paulsen story is listening to it. [BDD, RB]

Fine, Anne. Madame Doubtfire.

The hilarious story made famous by Robin Williams in the movie version.

Bemelmans, Ludwig. Madeline.

Madelines wonderful adventures are even more enchanting to hear. [LO,
Puf, WW]

Peck, Robert Newton. A Day No Pigs Would Die.

The moving story of a young Shaker boy who lives in Vermont and learns the joys and sorrows of growing up.
[CH, LL, LO, RB]

Fox, Paula. Monkey Island.

Older children have a chance to encounter homelessness when they meet an eleven-year-old struggling on the streets of New York. [RB]

Bjrk, Christina. Linnea in Monets Garden.

A beautiful story about France and Monet, perfect for children. [RB]

Philbrick, W. R. Freak the Mighty.

The enchanting story of a small handicapped boy and his buddy who has his own difficulties. Together they are super. Was made into the movie, The Mighty. [RB]

Blume, Judy. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.

Blumes characters speak to boys and girls of many ages and situations.

Freeman, Suzanne. The Cuckoos Child.

The 13-year-old narrator wonderfully presents her young heroine who loses her parents and comes to live with her aunt-a stranger. Older children. [LL]

Cannon, Janell. Stellaluna.

Original music is included along with other tales by Cannon. [High, Windy

Girling, Brough. School Secretary on the Warpath.

Rodska masterfully handles this wide range of real characters. [CH]

Pullman, Philip. The Golden Compass.

A new epic of fantasy as Lyra struggles to save the cosmos from evil scientists. [BOT, LL]

Carpenter, Humphrey. Shakespeare Without the Boring Bits.

Only the Brits could produce a Shakespeareor a Humphrey Carpenterto modernize the Bard for older youth. [CH]

Hautzig, Esther Rudomin. The Endless Steppe.

A beautiful but painfully sad story for older children about a young Jewish girl and her family as they are taken by

Rowling, J. K. The Harry Potter series.

The wonderful Jim Dale narrates the sensational Harry Potter series. [BOT,
LL, High]


Rylant, Cynthia. The Henry and Mudge series.
Laugh along with Henry and his big dog Mudge as they face the day-to-day problems and triumphs of childhood.
[CH, LL, RB]

Audiobook Collections & Services

Steig, William. Various titles.

A wonderful way to begin very young children with audiobooks as they listen to their favorite bedtime stories on tape! [LL, RB]

Wilson, Jacqueline. The Lottie Project.

A modern day school girl strongly identifies with the Victorian girl in her school project. [CH]

Sachar, Louis. Various titles.

Sachers funny and silly stories entertain and make their point. [CH, High, LL]

Stewart, Sarah. The Gardener; The Library.

Stewarts wonderful stories are even better read aloud. [LO]

Yep, Laurence. Serpents Children.

Yep gives young American children a glimpse of Asia as he relates tales of very different but still very similar kids.

Spyri, Johanna. Heidi.

This beautiful story is an introduction to the Alps and lifes various adventures. [BL, BM, BOT, BR, CH, DH, RB]

Stolz, Mary. Quentin Corn.

Hear about the world from Quentins perspective as the young pig escapes and disguises himself as a boy. [RB]

Key to Distributors
[AB] Audio Book [ABC] Audio Book Contractors [AF] Audio Forum [AH] August House [AP] Audio Partners [AR] Audio Renaissance [Ba] Bantam [BDD] Bantam Doubleday Dell [BE] Beeler [BL] Blackstone [BM] Books in Motion [BOT] Books on Tape [BR] Brilliance [Cae] Caedmon [CC] Cover to Cover [CH] Chivers [CL] Commuters Library [DD] Dual Dolphin [Der] Dercum [DH] Durkin Harp [FA] Fine Arts [Ha] Halvorson [Har] Harper Audio [High] Highsmith [Highbr] Highbridge [Jim] Jimcin [KT] KidTel [LA] L.A. Theatre [LE] Literate Ear [LL] Listening Library [LO] Live Oak [LP] Listen for Pleasure [NS] New Star [OH] Olivia and Hill [Peng] Penguin [PP] Piglet Press [RB] Recorded Books [SS] Simon & Schuster [Sou] Soundelux [TW] Time Warner [UL] Ulverscroft

Young Adult Audiobooks

The following selected titles are recommended for all libraries that serve young adults. A code indicating the publisher and/or distributor is listed following each entry. Refer to key to interpret the code, and Appendix A for the address or telephone number of the publisher or distributor. Anonymous. Go Ask Alice.
Based on a young womans diary, this presents the horror of drug addiction.


confront the reality of South African apartheid. [RB]

Cormier, Robert. Beyond the Chocolate War.

Sequel to Cormiers award-winning novel about life at Trinity School. [CW,

Greenberg, Joanne. I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.

The grueling story of a young womans fight back from madness to reality. [LL]

Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage.

A graphic and realistic portrait of what the Civil War did to one young soldier.
[AB, ABC, BL, BM, BOT, BR, Der, Jim, LL, NS, RB]

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Dont You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey.
Trish, an abuse victim, uses her personal journal to soothe her pain. [RB]

Crutcher, Chris. Athletic Shorts.

Wonderfully realistic short stories about young people coping with modern life, including AIDS, prejudice, etc. [RB]

Henry, O. (William S. Porter) O. Henry Favorites.

Wonderful collection, complete with Gift of the Magi and Last Leaf. Literally, O. Henry at his best. [LL]

Avi. Wolf Rider: A Tale of Terror.

Andy Zadinski overhears a murderers phone conversation, rushes to the potential victim, and risks his own life.

. Ironman.
After coping with child abuse, Bo Brewster channels his energy into the ironman triathalon. [RB]

Hinton, S. E. The Outsiders.

A wonderful recreation of how kids feel to be on the outside of the incrowd. Made into a very popular movie. [Ch, LL, LO, RB]

Block, Francesca Lia. Weetzie Bat.

Weetzie is an unconventional young lady who cruises around Los Angeles with her neon clothes and blond flattop.[RB]

Duncan, Lois. Killing Mr. Griffin.

Riveting story of a group of kids and a hated teacher. Things go awry. [RB]

. That Was Then, This Is Now.

A moving story about two guys, friends from childhood, until one begins to sell drugs to children. [RB]

Bradbury, Ray. The Illustrated Man.

Tattoos cover the illustrated man, but they are not ordinary tattoos. They come alive and reflect the past and future. One of the greatest science fiction works of all time. [BOT, Ch]

Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain.

The thrilling story of a young Boston silversmith who participates in the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Lexington. [BL, RB]

Hobbs, Will. Ghost Canoe.

Hobbs has the knack of creating realistic and interesting adventure stories for young adults. This is one of his best works. [RB]

Brooks, Bruce. Moves Make the Man.

The setting is the South in the 1960s, and the story involves the friendship of two teenagers, one white and the other black, as they help each other through hard times. [RB]

Gaines, Ernest J. Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.

Miss Jane Pittman relates her experiences from slavery to the Civil Rights movement. [BL, BOT, RB]

Cormier, Robert. The Chocolate War.

This grippingly realistic story is about a boy at Trinity School who encounters a sadistic teacher and a group of bullies [LL, RB]

Gallo, Donald R., ed. Sixteen Short Stories by Outstanding Writers for Young Adults.
Big name authors realistically relate the joys and sorrows of being young and growing up. [LL]

Katz, William Loren. Breaking the Chains: African-American Slave Resistance.

A look at history in a totally different way, complete with quotes from Civil War era African Americans. [RB]

Lester, Julius. To Be a Slave.

The Library of Congress has gathered true stories from slaves who lived through American slavery. This is ideal in the audiobook format. [RB]

Gordon, Sheila. Waiting for the Rain.

An interracial friendship is forced to


Lipsyte, Robert. Contender.
A young high school dropout follows his dreams to become a boxing champion. [RB]

Audiobook Collections & Services

Stine, R. L. Various thrillers.

Any of the titles by this master of suspense can be used to lure reluctant readers to audiobooks and reading.

Poe, Edgar Allan. The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales.
Andrew Sachs reads Poe classics. [Peng]

Thomas, Rob. Rats Saw God.

Rob Thomas (author) and Johnny Heller (narrator) have created a series of intriguingly realistic stories of modern teens growing up. [RB]

Soto, Gary. Pacific Crossing.

Two young Latinos are invited to Japan to demonstrate their skills in the martial arts. A perfect multicultural mix.

Westall, Robert. Gulf.

An English boy believes hes fighting in the Persian Gulf. One of the most amazing stories ever! [CH]

Staples, Suzanne Fisher. Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind.

A fantastic story of a young woman growing up and marrying in a Pakistani nomad tribe. [RB]

Key to Distributors
[AB] Audio Book [ABC] Audio Book Contractors [AF] Audio Forum [AH] August House [AP] Audio Partners [AR] Audio Renaissance [Ba] Bantam [BDD] Bantam Doubleday Dell [BE] Beeler [BL] Blackstone [BM] Books in Motion [BOT] Books on Tape [BR] Brilliance [Cae] Caedmon [CC] Cover to Cover [CH] Chivers [CL] Commuters Library [DD] Dual Dolphin [Der] Dercum [DH] Durkin Harp [FA] Fine Arts [Ha] Halvorson [Har] Harper Audio [High] Highsmith [Highbr] Highbridge [Jim] Jimcin [KT] KidTel [LA] L.A. Theatre [LE] Literate Ear [LL] Listening Library [LO] Live Oak [LP] Listen for Pleasure [NS] New Star [OH] Olivia and Hill [Peng] Penguin [PP] Piglet Press [RB] Recorded Books [SS] Simon & Schuster [Sou] Soundelux [TW] Time Warner [UL] Ulverscroft

Adult Fiction Audiobooks

The following adult fiction titles are recommended for public libraries of all sizes. A code indicating the publisher and/or distributor is listed following each entry. Refer to the key to interpret the code, and Appendix A for the address or telephone number of the publisher or distributor. Asimov, Isaac. Murder at the ABA.
The great science fiction author stars in this convention murder that relates to all conventioneers. [BOT]


London orphan who descends on the chaotic lives of her country cousins in her time of grief. [CH]

Bova, Ben. City of Darkness.

Harlan Ellison amazingly enhances this one-of-a-kind story of futuristic Manhattan. [NS]

Goddard, Robert. Out of the Sun.

This truly frightening story was written to be read aloud. [CH]

Brookner, Anita. Hotel Du Lac.

Brookner is at her best portraying older women and love gone wrong.
[CH, RB]

Graham, Caroline. Death of a Hallow Man.

Grahams wonderful village mysteries are excellent in the audiobook format.

Brett, Simon. Various titles.

Brett masterfully presents his own Charles Paris and Mrs. Pargeter. [CH,

Burns, Olive Ann. Cold Sassy Tree.

A delightful story about families, growing up, and the South. [BL, BOT]

Greene, Graham. The End of the Affair.

Only Graham Greene could have written this perfect story. Hearing it is an uplifting experience. [CH]

Babson, Marian. Untimely Guest.

Theres nothing like a family reunion murder. Kate Binchys narration enhances this great story. [CH]

Connell, Evan S. Mr. Bridge, Mrs. Bridge.

These two separate novels are perfect for reading; listening enhances the wonderful stories. [BOT, RB]

Banks, Russell. Cloudsplitter.

A fictionalization of one of the most amazing men in American history, abolitionist John Brown. [BOT]

Hanff, Helene. 84, Charing Cross Road.

A magical true story about books and people and the correspondence that brings them together. [RB]

Barnard, Robert. A City of Strangers.

A very disturbing story of the so-called criminal element from a different perspective. [CH]

Delany, Sarah, and A. Elizabeth. Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years.
One of the best books and audiobooks of the century. [BOT]

Harvey, John. Charlie Resnick series

Ron Keiths exceptional narration enhances this splendid mystery series.

Begley, Louis. About Schmidt.

Faced with a sudden retirement, Schmidt is perfectly portrayed by George Guidall. [RB]

Dexter, Colin. The Jewel That Was Ours.

There will never be another Inspector Morse. But dont get any that Dexter narrates! [BL, CH, DH, RB]

Hiaasen, Carl. Lucky You: A Novel.

The author takes the listener on a trip that is entertaining and worrisome enough to make you think twice before making that next trip to Florida

Benson, E. F. Mapp and Lucia series

This hilarious comment on British class and society is great and even better when Prunella Scales narrates. [DD]

Dooling, Richard. Critical Care.

You will never view hospitals and doctors in the same way after experiencing this chilling but sadly believable horror story. [RB]

Huth, Angela. Wives of the Fishermen.

Law and Huth are a great combo. You wont want the story to end.

Binchy, Maeve. The Copper Beech, Dublin 4, Evening Class, The Lilac Bus, London Transports.
This set includes some of Binchys best, all splendidly read by Kate Binchy. [CH]

Edgerton, Clyde. Various titles.

Try any of his wonderful titles. Edgerton is one of the best authors of modern Southern fiction and his humor adds a perfect touch. [RB]

Iles, Francis. Malice Aforethought.

When the wimpy doctor finally decides to kill his wife the result is an amazing trial and conclusion.

Gibbons, Stella. Cold Comfort Farm.

Delightful and hilarious story of a



Audiobook Collections & Services

Lively, Penelope. City of the Mind.

Unquestionably one of the finest living novelists today presents a poignant love story and a timely meditation on the city of London which has seen destruction, loss, and quest over several centuries. [CH]

James, P. D. A Certain Justice.

A superior murder mystery, A Certain Justice is also a gripping anatomy of wild justice. [BOT, CH, RB]

Moore, Brian. The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne.

Has lonely Judith Hearne finally met the man of her dreams? [CH]

Mortimer, John. Rumpole la Carte.

Here are six delightful tales featuring everyones favorite barrister for the defense, Horace Rumpole. Remember, however, that Rumpole MUST be narrated by Leo McKern. [DH, Peng]

Kaminsky, Stuart M. Various titles.

Rostnikov is quite simply the best cop to come out of the Soviet Union since Martin Cruz Smiths Arkady Renko in Gorky Park. [BL, RB]

. Passing On.
A heartbreaking story of a middle aged brother and sister and their lives after the death of their domineering mother. [DD]

Kay, Terry. Shadow Song.

The immensely gifted author of the best-selling To Dance with the White Dog (1990) demonstrates his narrative versatility by offering a rare and wonderful love story. [RB]

Lodge, David. Changing Places.

A hilarious but believable story of professors who switch jobs in the UK and USA. [CH]

Naylor, Gloria. The Men of Brewster Place, The Women of Brewster Place.
Each of these novels is presented by talented narrators who are perfectly suited to Naylors writing. [RB]

Keating, H. R. F. Asking Questions.

Welcome to India, the workaday, middle-class India in which a slightly bemused and timid Inspector Ghote persistently asks questions and solves crimes. [RB]

Maron, Margaret. Various titles.

Maron is marvelous at evoking both the old Southlazy afternoons, columned mansions, cool drinks, slow drawls, buried passionsand the fastchanging, growth-oriented South of today. [NS, RB]

Pearson, Ryne Douglas. Simple Simon.

An amazing story of an autistic boy who enters a web of terror when he innocently solves a number puzzle. Made into a movie called Mercury Rising. [RB]

Pym, Barbara. Quartet in Autumn.

The story of four elderly people who work together and share much of their bittersweet lives. [DD]

Keillor, Garrison. The Book of Guys: Stories.

The twenty-two hilarious stories in this collection are a deliciously satirical tribute to the American male. [Highbr]

McCrumb, Sharyn. Foggy Mountain Breakdown.

These twenty-four stories link the mysteries of the past with life in presentday Appalachia, using chains of words stronger than any steel. [RB]

Read, Miss. Summer at Fairacre.

Prunella Scales makes a lovely story come to life. [CH]

Kellerman, Faye. Prayers for the Dead.

Was the brilliant surgeonnow brutally murderedall that he seemed? Peter and Rina search for the truth.

McCullough, Colleen. The First Man in Rome.

McCulloughs epic tale of ancient Rome explores the power struggle between an ambitious military man and a man who lost his fortune to pleasure. [AB, BL, BOT, DD, RB]

Rendell, Ruth/Vine, Barbara. Various titles.

Under either name, the books will be tremendously fascinating and brilliantly written. Ruth Rendell is one of the most popularand well reviewed crime writers in the world. [BOT, BR,

LAmour, Louis. West of Dodge.

A must for Fathers Day, this collection of fourteen newly discovered stories by Louis LAmour presents the awe-inspiring wonder of the West in tales of the rugged men and women who carve out their places amid its mystery. [BDD,

McMillan, Terry. How Stella Got Her Groove Back.

This has a cast of likable, truculent characters, funny lines, smart repartee and a warm and fuzzy ending. [RB]

Rutherfurd, Edward. London.

A fantastic book that remarkably could be translated into a very interesting 31 tape set! [BOT]

Landvik, Lorna. Patty Janes House of Curl.

A humorous bittersweet picture of two loveably eccentric sisters. [RB]

. Waiting to Exhale.
In this proud, poignant tale, four thirty-something African-American women rely on one another for love and support. McMillans portrait of these friends, who struggle with differing aspects of loneliness, is indelibly etched with love and understanding.

Simenon, Georges. Maigret and the Killer.

When the son of a wealthy perfume manufacturer is stabbed to death, his parents reveal to Maigret that he was a loner who wandered Paris taping peoples conversations. Maigret is even better when the reader is Andrew Sachs.

Letts, Billie. Where the Heart Is.

Let Novalee Nation tell you the story of how her boyfriend abandoned her, seventeen and pregnant and now living in Walmart. [BR]

Adult Fiction Audiobooks

Weldon, Fay. The Shrapnel Academy.
A hilariously cynical look at race and class from Weldons jaundiced view.

Stone, Irving. The Greek Treasure.

The Schleimanns work and marriage are examined here as fiction based on fact. [BOT]

. The Origin.
Join Darwin on the Beagle and let your imagination sail away as you listen to this fantastic story based on fact. [BOT]

Wesley, Mary. An Imaginative Experience.

An accomplished and affecting comedy of manners, from an eighty-year-old author, follows the love that builds, after a chance meeting, between an impulsive woman and a man who has recently lost his wife and child. [CH]

Townsend, Sue. The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole.

The Mole series is super, but this is the best of the lot! [CH]

Wingfield, R. D. Frost at Christmas.

The insubordinate but admirable Detective Jack Frost is brought to life in this audiobook. [DD]

. The Queen and I.

Sue Townsends very, very funny satire offers welcome relief from the very real-life peccadillos of the House of Windsor as Englands royals are forced to go on the dole. [RB]

Yorke, Margaret. Act of Violence.

A seemingly idyllic English village is shattered by the murderous rampage of two schoolboys, in this chilling tale by the internationally renowned author of Almost the Truth. [CH]

Tyler, Anne. The Accidental Tourist.

A beautiful, incandescent, heartbreaking, exhilarating book that was the basis for the popular movie. [BOT, CH,

Key to Distributors
[AB] Audio Book [ABC] Audio Book Contractors [AF] Audio Forum [AH] August House [AP] Audio Partners [AR] Audio Renaissance [Ba] Bantam [BDD] Bantam Doubleday Dell [BE] Beeler [BL] Blackstone [BM] Books in Motion [BOT] Books on Tape [BR] Brilliance [Cae] Caedmon [CC] Cover to Cover [CH] Chivers [CL] Commuters Library [DD] Dual Dolphin [Der] Dercum [DH] Durkin Harp [FA] Fine Arts [Ha] Halvorson [Har] Harper Audio [High] Highsmith [Highbr] Highbridge [Jim] Jimcin [KT] KidTel [LA] L.A. Theatre [LE] Literate Ear [LL] Listening Library [LO] Live Oak [LP] Listen for Pleasure [NS] New Star [OH] Olivia and Hill [Peng] Penguin [PP] Piglet Press [RB] Recorded Books [SS] Simon & Schuster [Sou] Soundelux [TW] Time Warner [UL] Ulverscroft

Adult Nonfiction Audiobooks

The following titles are recommended for public libraries of all sizes. A code indicating the publisher and/or distributor is listed following each entry. Refer to the key on the previous page to interpret the code, and Appendix A for the address or telephone number of the publisher or distributor. Berendt, John. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
The best nonfiction novel since In Cold Blood and a lot more entertaining, Berendts book has everything going for itsnobbism, ruthless power, voodoo, local color, and a totally evil estheticism. Jeff Woodman did a marvelous narration. [RB] own personal values. Though the book is laden with abstract material, it is well organized and lends itself well to the audio format. [AR, BOT, RB]


lives and destinies of five people. [BOT]

Herriot, James. All Creatures Great and Small.

Christopher Timothy played Herriott in the long-running television series, and he provides an excellent narration of this work from Herriotts series. [AR]

Cousins, Norman. Anatomy of an Illness.

This is an excellent guide to recoveryCousins has arthritis of the spine. Well-written and well-narrated by Jason Robards. [BOT, NS]

Hornby, Nick. Fever Pitch.

The author explores the origins of his lifelong passion and obsession with English football (American soccer) from childhood to the present. [CH]

Drucker, Peter F. Managing for the Future: The 1990s and Beyond.
A major work on management by the single most influential writer on people and organizations in our time. [BL,

James, Will. Lone Cowboy: My Life Story.

This is the most personal and personable cowboy story youll ever encounter. [BOT]

Bissinger, H. G. Friday Night Lights.

A wonderful portrait of sports in American life, coupled with a view of life and mores in Texas. [BOT]

Falkner, David. Great Time Coming: the Life of Jackie Robinson, From Baseball to Birmingham.
A splendid biography that is also an excellent history of the civil rights movement in America. [RB]

Johnson, Paul. History of Christianity; A History of the American People.

Provocative, challenging and listenable. Paul Johnson's work covers the whole spectrum of history and human affairs. Try either of these splendid histories.

Bryson, Bill. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail.
A sparkling trailside adventure full of wisdom and humor. [BOT, CH]

Foote, Shelby. The Civil War: A Narrative.

These three books by one of Americas greatest historians are prose masterpieces with lively characterizations and gripping action. [BOT]

Kidder, Tracy. Old Friends.

Hear Lou and Joe as they settle into a Massachusetts nursing home. This is a poignant story of aging and the elderly.

Chang, Iris. Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II.
The authors thorough research reveals this World War II atrocity and this dark moment in Japanese and Chinese history. [BL]

Goldman, Peter, and Tony Fuller. Charlie Company: What Vietnam Did to Us.
Sixty-five members of a unit called Charlie Company describe the war from their personal perspectives. [BOT]

King, Martin Luther, Jr. A Knock at Midnight.

This is a selection of some of the best sermons by Dr. King. [TW]

Chang, Jung. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China.

The riveting story of a family of women and how they cope during the major upheavals in China. [CH]

Hawking, Stephen. A Brief History of Time.

One of the most brilliant theoretical physicists in history, Hawking wrote this modern classic to help nonscientists understand the questions being asked by scientists today. [BOT, NS, RB]

Krakauer, Jon. Into Thin Air.

A gripping tale of the 1996 summit expeditions of Mount Everest. Krakauer gives a first person account of an expedition to the top of the world that goes horribly wrong. [BDD, BOT]

Coles, Robert. The Moral Intelligence in Children: How to Raise a Moral Child.
The author gives thorough and thoughtful context to how children learn moral codes and develop their

Hendrickson, Paul. The Living and the Dead.

A stunning look at Robert McNamaras flawed vision and how it changed the

Kozol, Jonathan. Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation.
The author tells the stories of a hand-


Adult Nonfiction Audiobooks

Miller, Merle. Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman.
Millers interviews reveal the great depth of President Trumans character

ful of children who havethrough the love and support of their families and dedicated community leadersnot yet lost their battle with the perils of life in Americas most hopeless, helpless, and dangerous neighborhoods. [BR]

Solomon, Maynard. Mozart: A Life.

Perhaps the most important Mozart biography ever written, this book is subtle, rich-textured, endlessly stimulating and provocativejust like the mans music. [BOT]

Lamb, David. The Africans.

A portrait of sub-Sahara Africa that covers recent events plus a report on the authors visit to Ethiopia during the famine. [RB]

Moore, Thomas. Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life.
The author, an internationally renowned theologian and former Catholic monk, offers a philosophy for living that involves accepting our humanity rather than struggling to transcend it. [BOT]

Speer, Albert. Inside the Third Reich.

Speer chronicles his entire life, but the majority of Inside the Third Reich focuses on the years between 1933 and 1945, when Speer figured prominently in Hitlers government and the German war effort. [BOT]

Lapierre, Dominique. The City of Joy: An Epic of Love Heroism and Hope in the India of Mother Teresa
Made into a movie starring Patrick Swayze, this is the inspiring story of an American doctor who experienced a spiritual rebirth in an impoverished section of Calcutta. [NS]

Moorehead, Alan. The Blue Nile; The White Nile.

The exceptional narration of each of these histories of the Nile sparkle and ripple. [BOT, RB]

Stivender, Ed. Raised Catholic: Can You Tell?

The author is the son of an Irish Catholic mother and a Protestant Navy man. He recounts humorous stories from his parochial school days in Philadelphia during the 1950s and 1960s. [AH]

Zhisui, Li. The Private Life of Chairman Mao.

An excellent inside look at Mao written by his own physician. [BOT]

Morris, Jan. Hong Kong.

Join Morris on an in-depth look at all that is Hong Kong. [BL]

Lippman, Thomas W. Understanding Islam.

An honest look at one of the worlds most influential religions. [BL]

Preston, Richard. The Hot Zone.

The dramatic and chilling story of an Ebola virus outbreak in a suburban Washington, D.C. laboratory, with descriptions of frightening historical epidemics of rare and lethal viruses. [RB]

Taylor, Robert Lewis. W.C. Fields: His Follies and Fortunes.

Probably one of the best biographies of the humorist written to date, narrated in Fields amazing style. [BL]

Mandela, Nelson. Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela.

Read by the author, it offers wise words from a man who knows a great deal about freedom. [BOT]

Van Der Post, Laurens. The Lost World of the Kalahari.

This enchanting true story of African Aborigines is told with grace and charm. [DD]

Remnick, David. King of the World.

This author succeeds, more than any previous book, in bringing Muhammad Ali into focus. More than a biography, it is also a study of the world from which Ali emerged. [BR]

Masson, Jeffrey Moussaieff. When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals.
A somewhat controversial but interesting study of animals and emotions. [BOT]

Smith, Hedrick. The New Russians.

Smith updates his classic with an assessment of the important changes taking place in modern Russian life. [BL]

Key to Distributors
[AB] Audio Book [ABC] Audio Book Contractors [AF] Audio Forum [AH] August House [AP] Audio Partners [AR] Audio Renaissance [Ba] Bantam [BDD] Bantam Doubleday Dell [BE] Beeler [BL] Blackstone [BM] Books in Motion [BOT] Books on Tape [BR] Brilliance [Cae] Caedmon [CC] Cover to Cover [CH] Chivers [CL] Commuters Library [DD] Dual Dolphin [Der] Dercum [DH] Durkin Harp [FA] Fine Arts [Ha] Halvorson [Har] Harper Audio [High] Highsmith [Highbr] Highbridge [Jim] Jimcin [KT] KidTel [LA] L.A. Theatre [LE] Literate Ear [LL] Listening Library [LO] Live Oak [LP] Listen for Pleasure [NS] New Star [OH] Olivia and Hill [Peng] Penguin [PP] Piglet Press [RB] Recorded Books [SS] Simon & Schuster [Sou] Soundelux [TW] Time Warner [UL] Ulverscroft

Audiobook Award Winners

2000 Audie Awards, sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association
Fiction, Abridged
East of the Mountains, by David Guterson, narrated by Edward Herrmann BDD Audio


Joe Torres Ground Rules for Winners, by Joe Torre, Henry Dreher, narrated by Joe Torre Simon & Schuster Audio

Reverte, narrated by Michael York NewStar Media Inc.

Solo NarrationFemale
Bridget Jones Diary, by Helen Fielding, narrated by Barbara Rosenblat Recorded Books, LLC

Educational and Training

If You Can Talk, You Can Write, by Joel Saltzman, narrated by Joel Saltzman The Audio Partners

Solo NarrationAuthor or Authors

The Exorcist, by William Peter Blattey, narrated by William Peter Blattey NewStar Media Inc.

Fiction, Unabridged
I Know This Much is True, by Wally Lamb, narrated by George Guidall Recorded Books, LLC

Children's Title
The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman, narrated by Philip Pullman and a full cast Listening Library/Random House

Mystery, Fiction
The Breaker, by Minette Walters, narrated by Robert Powell Chivers North America

1999 Audie Awards, sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association

Fiction, Abridged
Cloudsplitter, by Russell Banks; narrated by George DelHoyo. Audio Literature

Reason for Hope, by Jane Goodall, Phillip Berman, narrated by Jane Goodall Time Warner AudioBooks

The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis, narrated by John Cleese Audio Literature, an imprint of NewStar Media Inc.

How Paul Robeson Saved My Life, by Carl Reiner, narrated by Carl Reiner NewStar Media Inc.

Fiction, Unabridged
A Widow for One Year, by John Irving; narrated by George Guidall. Random House AudioBooks

Non-Fiction, Abridged
The Endurance: Shackletons Legendary Antarctic Expedition, by Caroline Alexander, narrated by Michael Tezla, Martin Rubin HighBridge Company

Realms of Gold, The Letters and Poems of John Keats, by John Keats, narrated by Samuel West, Matthew Marsh Naxos AudioBooks UK

Mystery, Fiction
The Breaker, by Minette Walters; narrated by Robert Powell. Chivers, North America

Non-fiction, Unabridged
'Tis, by Frank McCourt, narrated by Frank McCourt Simon & Schuster Audio

The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck; narrated by Dylan Baker. Penguin Audiobooks

Short Stories/Essays/Collections
Malice Domestic 6, by Edward Marston, Peter Lovesey, Dorothy Cannell, Peter Robinson, David Williams, Simon Brett, Catherine Aird, Marjorie Eccles, Jan Burke, Sarah Caudwell, Jon L. Breen, narrated by Patrick Macnee, Juliet Mills, Judy Geeson, Christopher Cazenove, Stephanie Beacham, Reed Diamond, William Windom NewStar Media Inc.

Personal Development
How Men Have Babies, by Alan Thicke, narrated by Alan Thicke The Audio Partners

Nonfiction, Abridged
The Professor and the Madman, by Simon Winchester; narrated by Simon Jones. Harper Audio

Business Information
Beer Blast, by Philip Van Munching, narrated by Philip Van Munching Audio Book Club Publishing

Nonfiction, Unabridged
Full Circle, by Michael Palin; narrated by the author. Chivers North America

Solo NarrationMale
The Fencing Master, by Arturo Perez-


Audiobook Award Winners

The Audio Partners Publishing Corporation

Personal Development
The Energy of Money, by Maria Nemeth, Ph. D.; narrated by the author. Sounds True

Childrens Book and Tape

Sophie Is Seven, by Dick King-Smith, narrated by Bernard Cribbins. Cover to Cover Audioworld

Solo NarrationAuthor or Authors

Still Me, by Christopher Reeve; narrated by the author. Random House AudioBooks

Sales Closing for Dummies, by Tom Hopkins; narrated by the author. Harper Audio

French in a Box, by Donald S. Rivera; narrated by the author. Penton Overseas

42nd Grammy Awards Spoken-Word Winners (1999)

Best Spoken Word Album for Children
Listen to the Storyteller. Wynton Marsalis, Graham Greene & Kate Winslet. Steven Epstein & David Frost, producers. Sony Classical

Golden Headset Awards for 1999

Best Childrens Audio
The Adventures of Tintin. Listening Library

Lilys Crossing, by Patricia Reilly Giff; narrated by Mia Dillon. BDD Audio Publishing

Best Unabridged Narrator (tie)

Dick Hill. Angels in Flight. Brilliance Audio Burt Reynolds. Hush Money. Dove Audio

Still Me, by Christopher Reeve; narrated by the author. Random House AudioBooks

Best Spoken Word Album

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. LeVar Burton (with Martin Luther King, Jr.) Time Warner Audiobooks

Best Unabridged Audio

The Holy Bible. Dove Audio

Ranting Again, by Dennis Miller; narrated by the author. Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing

Best Audio
All Through the Night Simon and Schuster Audio

Best Spoken Comedy Album

Bigger & Blacker. Chris Rock. DreamWorks Records

A Night Without Armor, by Jewel; narrated by the author. Harper Audio

Talkies, sponsored by the Spoken Word Publishing Association (UK) 1999 Awards
Unabridged Fiction Classic
Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, narrated by Lisa Ross. Isis Unabridged Modern Fiction The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, narrated by Carole Boyd

Solo NarrationMale
City of Darkness, by Ben Bova; narrated by Harlan Ellison. Dove Audio, an imprint of NewStar Publishing

Solo Narration-Female
Bridget Jones Diary, by Helen Fielding; narrated by Miriam Margolyes.


Oak Lawn Public Library Selection Policy Statement

Oak Lawn Public Library Selection Policy Statement
Mission Statement The purpose of the Oak Lawn Public Library is 1.)To assemble, preserve, and administer in organized collections, information in a variety of formats to serve the educational and recreational needs of the community; 2.) To promote and stimulate the communication of ideas, fostering enlightened citizenship, and enrich personal lives; 3.) To encourage and provide all citizens the opportunity and resources for life-long learning. Freedom to Read The Board of Trustees of the Oak Lawn Public Library reaffirms its adoption of the Freedom to Read Statement. Library Bill of Rights The Board of Trustees of the Oak Lawn Public Library reaffirms its endorsement of the Library Bill of Rights. Selections of Library Materials A. Criteria for Selection The goal for selection of materials for the Librarys collection is to make available materials in all formats that will meet the educational, informational, cultural, and recreational interests and needs of the people of Oak Lawn. To fulfill this purpose, the Library endeavors to maintain a collection of representative materials of permanent value and current interest. B. Method of Selection Reviews published in professional, literary, or general periodicals and requests from members of the community are used as the basis of selection by professional librarians on the staff under the direction of the director. C. Areas of Special Acquisition The Oak Lawn Public Library through its local history collection preserves literature and photographs which document the history of Oak Lawn and the surrounding communities. In providing a record of current and past happenings in the community the Library will cooperate with the Oak Lawn Historical Commission and any other organization involved in collecting or keeping materials relating to the History of Oak Lawn. D. Areas of Limited Acquisition Selection of books and non-book materials in certain areas is limited to very general or basic works which are not too specialized or considered beyond the province of public library service. These areas include:



Oak Lawn Public Library Selection Policy Statement



Textbooks The Oak Lawn Public Library provides materials supplemental to, or correlative with, various courses of instruction, but does not attempt to purchase materials required for course work of elementary or secondary schools or of institutions of higher learning. Genealogy The Oak Lawn Public Library purchases general guides to help the people of Oak Lawn trace their ancestry. In so doing, some specialized genealogical services are purchased. Foreign Language The Oak Lawn Public Library does not attempt to collect materials in foreign languages exhaustively. The Library recognizes the needs of residents to have access to materials in their native languages and will attempt to meet these needs through services such as interlibrary loan.



E. Gift Materials The Oak Lawn Public Library gratefully accepts gifts of books, periodicals, pamphlets, and audiovisual materials with the understanding that they will be added to the Library collection when they meet the same standards of selection which are applied to regular library purchases. The Library reserves the right to utilize gifts as it sees fit. When the Library receives a cash gift for the purchase of materials, whether as a memorial or for any other purpose, the general nature or subject area of the materials to be purchased is usually based upon the wishes of the donor. Selection of specific titles, however, is made by the Library staff in accordance with the needs and selection policies of the Library. Special collections and memorial collections are accepted with the understanding that they will be integrated into the general collection. Memorial gifts are identified by a gift plate. F. Withdrawal of Materials The Oak Lawn Public Library is not a library of historical record, except in the area of local history. To ensure a vital collection of continued value to the community, books which have outlived their usefulness are withdrawn. The continuous review of library materials is necessary as a means of maintaining an active library collection of current interest of users. In the process, materials may be added, and physically deteriorated or obsolete materials may be replaced or removed. Continued evaluation is closely related to the goals and responsibilities of this Library and is a valuable tool of collection development. This procedure is not to be used as a convenient means to remove materials presumed to be controversial or disapproved by segments of the community. G. Non-Removal of Challenged Materials The Board of Trustees of the Oak Lawn Public Library reaffirms its adoption of the statement on Non-Removal of Challenged Library Materials. Censorship A. Responsibility The responsibility of the Library is to serve all the community, not to promoteand above all, not to censorany particular political, moral, philosophical, or religious conviction or opinion. It is not the purpose of the Library

to stimulate nor to cater to antisocial, prurient, or immoral interests. But no one, least of all a free public library, has the right to judge what another may or may not read, hear, or view. History shows that many materials which have been most controversial or objectionable to some persons or groups have in due course been recognized to be among those which most belong in public libraries. If an idea is truly dangerous or evil, the best protection against it is a public which has been exposed to it and rejected it. The worst protection is a public which has been shielded from exposure to it by official or self-appointed guardians. Although it is occasionally necessary to restrict access to certain materials to prevent theft or mutilation, this Library will not segregate materials on the basis of controversial subject matter. B. Intellectual Freedom It is recognized to be a responsibility of the Library to guard against encroachments upon intellectual freedom, no matter the source or sociopolitical persuasion. Intellectual freedom promotes no causes, furthers no movements, and favors no viewpoints. The Library provides for free access to all ideas through which any and all sides of causes and movements may be expressed, discussed, and argued. C. Service to Young People This Library maintains a Youth Services Department with staff and collection dedicated to the needs of children up to the age of 14. However, children are not restricted to the use of that department nor its collection. This Library has a responsibility to ensure that young people have access to a wide range of information and recreational materials and services. In recognition of the fact that no library serves in place of the parents, the Oak Lawn Public Library does not restrict access to library materials and services and believes that it is only the parents who may restrict their children from access to library materials and services. D. Reconsideration of Library Materials While the selection of materials appropriate to the needs of the community is one of the basic duties of the professional library staff and of the Director, it is not possible to read every book added to the Librarys collection. It is recognized that a resident of Oak Lawn may find an item personally objectionable. Complainants are encouraged to bring their concerns regarding any specific title or item in the Librarys collection to the attention of the appropriate department head or the Director in either an informal discussion or through a formal complaint process. The formal complaint process may only be instituted by residents of Oak Lawn. The formal complaint process shall be explained to complainants wishing to use this procedure, which is handled in the following manner. Formal complaint process: Provide a copy of the following to the complainant: 1. 2. 3. 4. Material Selection Policy of the Library Freedom to Read Statement Library Bill of Rights Citizens Request Form for Reconsideration of Library Material

Audiobook Collections & Services

Following receipt, by the Director, of the completed Citizens Request Form

Oak Lawn Public Library Selection Policy Statement


for Reconsideration of Library Material: [See Chapter 6.] 1. 2. 3. The Director shall notify the Board of Trustees upon receiving a completed Reconsideration of Library Materials form. The Director will appoint an ad hoc committee of staff librarians to review the material in question. Following a decision by the ad hoc committee, the Director shall promptly notify the Board of the committees action regarding the complaint and send a letter informing the person instituting the complaint of the committee decision. This letter must inform the patron of their right to bring the matter before the Board of Trustees if they are unsatisfied with the committee ruling. (See following section.)

E. Request for Full Board Ruling on Complaints In the event that the decision made by the ad hoc committee is not satisfactory to the patron, the patron has the right to present the complaint to the Board of Trustees. This shall be accomplished by written request to the President of the Board, with a copy to the Library Director, asking that the patron be allowed to address the Board regarding the decision at a regular Board meeting. The President of the Board shall then schedule this within a two-month period of time, and shall provide written notice to the requester of the date and time of the meeting at which the Board will consider the matter. The Board shall review the matter in question and base their final decision about the reconsideration of materials request on the criteria outlined in the librarys book selection policy. The person making the complaint shall receive written notice of action taken by the Board.
ADOPTED REVISED REVISED REVISED REVISED REVISED 9/10/85 6/08/86 6/09/87 6/21/88 10/16/90 3/12/91 REVISED REVISED REVISED REVISED REVISED REVISED 3/26/91 5/21/91 10/08/91 10/19/93 10/17/95 10/20/98

abridged titles 1819, 28, 39, 56 accents 6, 16, 19, 32, 3435, 50 adult selection 7377 57 American Library Association (ALA) 6, 17, 21, 24, 40, 44 anecdotal information 50, 54 Association for Independent Music 44 Audie Awards 10, 27, 42, 44, 66, 78 Audio Publishers Association (APA) 6, 910, 27, 44, 5657, 66, 78 AudioFile 2, 27, 32, 3536, 4244, 66 author/narrator 33 awards 6, 10, 22, 27, 42, 44, 59, 78

Earphone Award 44 e-books 5860 Ebert, Roger 4243 Edison, Thomas 9 English as a second language (ESL) 16 Entertainment Weekly 36 evaluation 24, 48, 5455

narration 3236, 78 narrators 5, 22, 3236 National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences 44 National Library Service (NLS) 910, 16 National Public Radio (NPR) 42 The New York Times 42 Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom 40 nonfiction selection 14, 17, 19, 27, 3637, 46, 4950, 52, 5455, 76, 78 Notable Childrens Recordings 2324, 44

family listening 37 fees 37, 57 fiction selection 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 27, 3738, 46, 52, 5455, 73, 78 Fiction Catalog 15, 27 fines 39 focus group 4950 Freedom to Read 40 Friends of the Library 14, 17 future trends 5660

Oak Lawn (IL) Public Library 2, 56, 14, 1718, 4041, 50, 8184 online bookstores 57 ordering 15, 2526 output measures 49 Outstanding Audiobooks for Teens 21

Berliner, Emile 9 best of lists 4445 bestsellers 19, 27, 54, 59 Blind and Physically Handicapped (Division of the Library of Congress) 9, 11 bookpack 28 Books on Tape (term and company) 10, 15, 17, 20, 38, 5152, 54, 56, 62 Bowker Audio Title Selector 36, 57, 66 budgeting 15, 27 buy vs. rent 18

garbled sound 29 genre 14, 17, 49, 55, 58 Gutenberg, Johannes 9

packaging 1920, 25, 28, 57, 60, 65 planning 1217, 48 Planning and Role Setting for Public Libraries 48 Planning for Results 48 policy 14, 26, 30, 34, 3741, 59, 8083 procedures 30, 3741, 4647 processing 28 programs 2021, 4446 Public Library Association (PLA) 48 Public Library Catalog 15, 27 Public Library Data Service 49 publishers 10, 1516, 2227, 43, 48, 5859, 6164 Publishers Weekly 19, 24, 47, 55, 60, 66

Hints for better listening 30

cassette player 30, 60 cassette tapes 56 cataloging 37 CD (compact disc) 23, 3739, 43, 56, 58, 60 celebrity narrators 33 censorship 37, 40 Chicago Tribune 42 childrens selection 17, 2223, 34, 37, 69 circulation policies and procedures 30 classics 10, 1415, 22, 27, 47, 54, 67 cleaning kit 30 community surveys 5055 costs 30, 37, 60

Indie Awards 44 industry growth 11, 17, 54 interlibrary loan 38 Internet 5660

jobbers 2526

large print 16, 43 Library Bill of Rights 40 Library Journal 16, 20, 24, 26, 31, 39, 41, 57, 60, 66 listeners 32, 3435, 42, 4446, 5051, 54, 56, 5859 listening station 43 loan period 3839, 50

readers 13, 16, 20, 3235, 47, 53, 59 reconsideration of library material 4041 Recorded Books (Company) 10, 15, 21, 23, 51, 56, 63 recorded books (term) 1011, 21, 55, 58 records (phonograph) 910 rent 10, 18, 54, 5859 repair 28, 30 replacement 2526, 2830, 5657, 59 rewind 2930, 39

damage 2530, 38, 49, 59 demagnitizer 30 Digital Compact Cassettes (DCC) 56 Digital Versatile Discs (DVD) 56 discounts 15, 2527, 59 discussion group 4546, 57, 59 distributors 22, 2426, 57, 59, 6164 donations 39

maintenance 28, 37 marketing 23, 42, 45 mission statement 1213, 17, 4041 MP3 58, 60 Muller, Frank 35, 51

sampling 50, 54 school 10, 18, 2022, 24, 42, 47



Talkie Awards 44 talking books 9 teens 10, 2021 trends 15, 27, 48, 5354, 5660

School Library Journal 20, 24, 66 security 39 selection policies and procedures 5051, 40, 8083 shelving 19, 28, 37, 43 Sony Walkman 9 Spoken Word Publishers Association (UK) 44 standing order 15, 26 statistics 10, 32, 4849 suggestion box 1517, 27 surveys (patron) 17, 5055

videos 1516, 3839, 43, 45 voice pad 29

Walkman 910, 20 The Washington Post 42 website 22, 44, 5659 Whitten, Robin 2, 32, 36, 66 wholesalers 2526, 59 Words on Cassette 3536 young adult selection 1011, 15, 1718, 2021, 24, 27, 38, 4344, 49, 7172

unabridged titles 10, 1819, 28, 35, 56 United Kingdom (UK) 18, 24, 63, 74, 7879 USA Today 42 used audiobooks 3031, 58


Susan G. Baird
This complete guide to the planning, development, marketing, and administration of audiobook collections in libraries is packed with practical advice. Following introductory background on the evolution of the audiobook and the reasons for its immense popularity, the author offers clear, easy-to-follow steps in planning, budgeting and evaluating your collection, how to select titles appropriate for adult and juvenile users, recommended selection policies, timesaving acquisition and processing procedures, advice on narrators and abridgements, coping with censorship threats, maintenance and repair, shelving and circulation, promotion and effective display. Appendices include reviewing and collection development sources, suppliers, audiobook publishers and distributors (including their specialities, such as audiotapes in Spanish), a sample selection policy, an annotated bibliography of classic audiobooks for adults and youth, major audiobooks awards and recent awards winners.

Susan G. Baird is head of Patron Services for the Oak Lawn Public Library in Illinois. She began selecting audiobooks for the Oak Lawn Public Library in 1988, after successfully convincing the Friends of the Library to fund a core audiobook collection. She has served as a reviewer for AudioFile magazine since 1992 and has been a judge for three Audio Publishers Association (APA) Audie Awards. Ms. Baird also serves on the APAs Library Outreach Committee. She has an MLS from the University of MissouriColumbia.

ISBN 1-57950-034-X 90000


9 781579 500344