Find Your Next Great Audiobook. New Audiobook Collaboration with AudioFile Magazine

Technology | Robin Whitten| December 21, 2017

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Interested in learning about the best audiobooks? Learn how AudioFile magazine is teaming up with EBSCO Audiobooks™.

Founder and Editor of AudioFile magazine, Robin Whitten, discusses the new collaboration with EBSCO Audiobooks and how the AudioFile review process enhances the listening experience.

AudioFile magazine is a monthly print publication, as well as an online source, featuring reviews of the latest and greatest audiobooks. The Collection Development team at EBSCO eBooks™ recently collaborated with AudioFile to create three new audiobook collections.

Robin Whitten, Founder & Editor of AudioFile, talks about how these collections came to be.

AudioFile is all about audiobooks. We review and recommend audiobooks exclusively and publish in print and digital platforms. We've been at it a while —since 1992, before audiobooks were commonly accepted by readers or visible in our general culture. Libraries were early adopters as they built their collections and brought a welcome enthusiasm to fledgling AudioFile as we charted a course to publish independent reviews of audiobook performances. We are delighted to partner with EBSCO Audiobooks™ to create curated lists of recommended audiobooks.

Popular interest in and use of audiobooks has grown exponentially in the last 25 years, as has the audio industry itself. More than 50,000 audiobook titles are now published each year, according to the Audio Publishers Association. Reviewing and recommending the best of these titles continues to be an exciting challenge. The sheer scope of offerings, also true with print titles, is one aspect, but reviewing performance elements that change the reader's experience adds another layer of complexity.

AudioFile reviews strive to illuminate the listening experience. With the focus on the audiobook performance, we discuss the narrator's contributions: Does he or she capture the author's intent? Does the pace and tone of the narration match the text? Are accents believable? Are place names correct? What aspects of the storytelling best connect with the listener? These are just a few of the elements of a listening experience that we assess and distill into a short (125 word) review. Our discussion of the performance can't exist in a vacuum, of course, so the storyline and content also have to be factored into the review.

AudioFile reviews designate "exceptional" audiobooks with an Earphones Award, similar to a starred review. Earphones Award winning titles warrant attention for their balance of story and presentation.

Popular interest in and use of audiobooks has grown exponentially in the last 25 years, as has the audio industry itself. More than 50,000 audiobook titles are now published each year, according to the Audio Publishers Association.

We’re delighted to collaborate with EBSCO Audiobooks on three new audiobook collections, the start of a series titled “AudioFile Presents:” Current Events, Diverse Books and LGBTQ+.

The Current Events collection includes well-reviewed audiobooks on current newsworthy topics such as politics, social issues and world events.

  • I CAN'T BREATHE: A Killing on Bay Street, author/journalist Matt Taibbi's 2017 work about the Eric Garner case. Read by Dominic Hoffman, the audiobook received an Earphones Award and is included in our 2017 Best Audiobooks list.
  • PUTIN COUNTRY, published in 2015, has a wealth of detail that helps us look at contemporary Russia. Written and read by former NPR reporter Anne Garrels, this audio experience puts the listener "at the scene."
  • THE CASE AGAINST SUGAR by Gary Taubes is given a fine performance by narrator Mike Chamberlain, in another Earphones Award winning audiobook. This collection will be updated and added to quarterly.

The Diverse Books collection is aimed at young listeners with audiobooks that cover many topics and feature multicultural characters, and many are #ownvoices titles. This list includes:

  • Multiple award-winner GEORGE by Alex Gino and read by Jamie Clayton, who is a transgender woman.
  • HERE IN HARLEM by Walter Dean Myers, shows how dynamic an audio experience can be. A spectacular ensemble cast delivers poems on the African-American experience in a chorus of voices. Authentic emotions are beautifully conveyed in this multiple audio award-winner.
  • HOODOO by Ronald L. Smith brings a little magic to a story set in 1930s Alabama. Elements of life under Jim Crow are woven through the audiobook, and narrator Ron Butler performs with subtle humor.

The collection of LBGTQ+ audiobooks is aimed at adult and teen listeners. All of the audiobooks relate in some way to the LBGTQ+ experience and range from classics to the latest bestsellers.

  • Celebrated performances by Sean Barrett and Oliver Le Sueur are part of Haruki Murakami's contemporary classic, KAFKA ON THE SHORE.
  • UNDER THE UDALA TREES by Chinelo Okparanta, is a sensitive and powerful performance by Robin Miles.
  • ORLANDO. The audio edition is a beautiful way to appreciate Virginia Woolf’s language.

More than 75 reviewers currently work on AudioFile reviews. They come from all over the country (and a few internationally) and hail from many professions —including many librarians. We also have writers, teachers, and avid audiophiles from all walks of life who write about the listening experience. Working with so many people keeps the flow of new reviews coming, with nearly 50 reviews each week. We try to keep a balance of subjects and genres, and always with an ear to what makes a unique audio experience.

Check out the newly created “AudioFile Presents” collections.

Download the AudioFile Collections

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Robin Whitten
Founder & Editor, AudioFile

Robin Whitten is the founder and editor of AudioFile — 25 years young and ready for the next challenges ahead! Started in 1992, AudioFile reviews and recommends audiobooks as a multi-platform resource, publishing in print, e-newsletters, the web site, and seasonal programs like AudiobookSYNC for teen audiences. Robin currently serves on the board of Directors of the Audio Publishers Association as Vice President of Member Communications. 

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