Susan23.jpg.jpgTo find out more about the year’s biggest audiobook stories, GalleyCat caught up with self-identified audiobook fanatic Susan Dunman (pictured)–host of the website Audiobook DJ. She assembled an excellent list of the top audiobook stories of 2009, complete with commentary–reflecting on a year of digital innovations and controversies.

Audiobook question of the year:
“What exactly is an audiobook? Controversy erupted over the text-to-speech function of the Kindle 2 when the Authors Guild claimed it was a violation of copyright for the device to read e-text aloud. As a compromise, Amazon said it would allow authors and publishers to decide whether to enable the function on a per-title basis.”

Digital downloads-only debate:
“More publishers are offering titles only as digital downloads– there are no equivalent physical CDs to purchase. While this may help publishers defray costs and publish more titles in audio, it has serious ramifications for brick-and-mortar bookstores and libraries. Some publishers do make CDs available to libraries for titles that are offered as ‘download only’ in the retail market, but in many cases, if a physical copy of an audiobook is not available, then it does not ‘exist’ for customers/patrons without computers or broadband access.

Tweeting an audiobook:
BBC Audiobooks America embarked on an experiment using Twitter to create an audiobook. Written entirely from a compilation of individual, 140 character tweets, ‘Hearts, Keys, and Puppetry’ was crafted with 875 tweets from 124 contributors in 6 countries writing 14,385 words. Read by award-winning narrator Katherine Kellgren, the project brought audiobooks to the attention of a broad audience in a unique and imaginative way. The audiobook can be downloaded for free at this link.

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