ALA Unit/Subunit: RUSA
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.
The interest in audiobooks has reached an all-time high, as evidenced by the enthusiasm for public libraries’ digital download and physical collections. There are substantive reasons for this phenomenon: audiobooks are the fastest-growing segment of publishing, out-selling both print and ebook by double-digits; plugged-in patrons are enjoying literature in multi-modal formats, with audio formats receiving attention from podcast and digital device fans; and the audio publishing industry is experiencing an explosive boom, with a 43% increase in releases over the past year. Librarians can rejoice in the findings of the Audio Publishers Association’s 2017 customer survey, which found that libraries remain major access channels and important drivers of discovery, as 27% of people said borrowing from a library or library site was very important for discovering new audios.
Given the increase in the sheer numbers of audiobooks produced yearly, it is imperative to be able to assess what are the best audiobooks to share with patrons. Mary Burkey, recipient of the Louis Shore Award for outstanding audiobook reviewing and audiobook columnist for ALA's Booklist, and Renee Young, NoveList's audiobook appeal factor expert - both former Listen List Chairs - will outline core collection resources, practical professional tools, and provide an audiobook lexicon to facilitate format-specific conversations. A lively discussion between Burkey and Young will outline the development of the award and its unique benefits for librarians providing listeners’ advisory. The panelists will analyze how to evaluate the specific qualities of audiobooks, emphasizing the need for culturally-authentic representations, as well as pointing to resources for locating reviews of audio.
Attendees will also learn striking findings from the Audio Publishing Association from Penguin Random House's audiobook publisher. Drawing from exhaustive current surveys of both audiobook publishers and a sampling of over 2000 audiobook consumers, attendees will appraise coming trends in audiobook formats and delivery as well as a detailed examination of audiobook listener demographics and genre preferences, providing justification for diverse audiobook collection development.
Finally, a professional narrator recognized by the Listen List will discuss the unique process of recording an audiobook. Behind-the-scene secrets will be revealed and attendees will experience the art of transforming the printed page into an extraordinary audio through a step-by-step demonstration of preparing and performing literature. Participants will receive audiobook door prizes, courtesy of members of the Audio Publishers Association.