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Audiobooks

Oprah Winfrey & Forest Whitaker Read on ‘The Butler’ Audiobook

Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, Emmy Award-winning talk show host Oprah Winfrey and Lincoln actor David Oyelowo will lend their voices to the audiobook edition of  The Butler: A Witness to History.

Atria Books’ 37 INK imprint will publish the print edition of Wil Haygood’s nonfiction book; a biography that profiles an African-American butler named Eugene Allen who was employed at the White House for 34 years.

The three actors will all star in adaptation of the novel, directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lee Daniels.

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Free Philip Roth Audiobook Raises Funds for the Newark Public Library

The great Philip Roth recorded himself reading “In Memory of a Friend, Teacher and Mentor” to raise funds for the Newark Public Library.

Every time a reader downloads the free audiobook version of the eulogy Roth wrote for his former teacher, Audible will donate $1 to the Newark Public Library (up to $25,000). The Paris Review caught up with Roth to find out more, getting his thoughts about his childhood library:

The library was very important to me as a kid. The main Newark Public Library was downtown, and I went to a branch library where I lived, about a mile away. I went often, when I got to be eleven, twelve, thirteen. Then, my first year of college, I went to college there in Newark—Newark-Rutgers, now—and the college didn’t have a library, so the Newark Public Library was our library. I’m very attached to it. And I don’t want it to go under. Not that $25,000 will save it, but it can’t hurt.

Colin Firth Wins Audiobook of the Year for ‘The End of the Affair’

Actor Colin Firth and Audible Studios won the Audiobook of the Year prize at the Audie Awards last night for an audiobook edition of Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair.

We’ve linked to all the winners below. In addition, Dracula by Bram Stoker won the distinguished achievement in production award for an audiobook with work by Alan CummingTim CurryKatherine Kellgren and more. The audio drama award went to Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner. Firth had this statement in the release:

I’m grateful for this honor, and grateful for the opportunity to narrate one of my favorite stories—a great novel told in the first person makes for the best script an actor could imagine. None better than The End of the Affair … Theater and film each offer their own challenges and rewards, but narration is a new practice for me and the audiobook performance provides exhilarating possibilities for both actors and listeners.

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Turn Your Favorite Kid’s Book into an Audiobook

If you want to make a personalized audiobook for the kid in your life, StorySticker can help you with the transition.

Created by stkr.it, the tool will be unveiled at BEA next week. AppNewser has all the details:

StorySticker lets you do create audio recordings of yourself reading their favorite book so that they can listen to your voice at bedtime. The StorySticker audio book works through the combination of an app and a unique coded sticker that attaches to the inside of any children’s book. You can buy the stickers at a book retailer and paste it into your child’s book. Then you can download the free app and follow the prompts to record your reading. The recording is linked with the sticker and your child can hear your recording by scanning the StorySticker code or by selecting the book within the app.

Granta Best of Young British Novelists List Gets Audiobook

Audible has released an 11 hour and 43 minute audiobook edition of Granta‘s Best of Young British Novelists list.

We also collected free samples of the Best of Young British Novelists list, 20 different novels to explore. Here’s more about the Audible production:

Every 10 years, Granta Magazine dedicates a special issue celebrating the 20 best British novelists under the age of 40 … Audible invited all these young novelists to read their work – some of them did, and some of them chose to have their stories professionally narrated – and the result is an exciting blend of literary talent and spoken-word: These distinctive voices and the sense of place that permeate every story create a listening experience you will not soon forget.

 

Audible & Center for Fiction Establish Christopher Doheny Award

Audible and The Center for Fiction have established the Christopher Doheny Award, honoring the memory of an employee who died of cystic fibrosis.

The winner will receive $10,000, publication and promotion of their book both in print and audio formats. This award recognizes writers whose fiction or nonfiction manuscripts that focus on the topic of serious illness. You can email DohenyAward [at] audible [dot] com for more information.

Here’s more from the release: “The winner of the Christopher Doheny Award will demonstrate high literary standards while exploring the impact of illness on the patient, family and friends, and others. In recognition that authors frequently need support during the writing process, both manuscripts in process and completed manuscripts will be eligible.”

60% of Audiobooks Sold Are Now Digital

According to the Audio Publishers Association, audiobooks are now a billion dollar part of the publishing industry.

Taking results from two studies of the audiobook industry, the association noted that 3.8 million more audiobooks were sold in 2011 compared to the year before–generating a 2.6 percent rise in revenues. Here’s more from the report:

The total number of titles published in the audio format has doubled over the past seven years and publishers continue to increase their output to ensure that the most popular trade books are available in audio at the time the print book is released. Adding to the positive outlook is a 3.2% decrease in returns of audiobooks from 14% last year to just 10.8% this year. Returns as a percentage of overall gross sales have never been this low … The study shows that for audiobooks, the digital download format has eclipsed the CD format with slightly more than 60% of all audiobooks sold today being digital.

Audible Users Get an iPad App

Audible, the audiobooks platform owned by Amazon, has released its first iPad app. The company also redesigned its iPhone app.

AppNewser has all the details:

According to Audible, more than 20 percent of the company’s customers already use Audible’s iPhone app on the iPad. The new iPad app is designed for the tablet’s large screen. The app has large images and makes it easy to browse the library browsing and listen to audiobooks. The iPhone app has been redesigned to improve the listening experience. In addition, the app’s new layout highlights cover art. It lets you browse multiple titles at the same time, while accessing the app’s library management features.

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Janis Ian Wins Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album

Musician Janis Ian beat out First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, political commentator Rachel Maddow and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres for the “Best Spoken Word Album” Grammy award.

Ian narrated her own book for the win.

Audible released the audiobook edition of her nonfiction book, Society’s Child: My Autobiography, in June 2012. The hardcover print version of this book actually came out back in July 2008.

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Atavist Offers Whispersync Connection Between Audiobooks & eBooks

Digital publisher Atavist now offers a Whispersync connection between its Kindle eBook editions and the audiobook editions. You can read your digital book copy and switch to the same place in the audiobook while reading.

All Atavist titles on Amazon with audio accompaniment can make use of this new feature. Generally, if you purchased a $1.99 eBook edition of an Atavist digital book through Amazon, you can buy the audio version using Whispersync for $1.99.

Atavist developed an audiobook syncing tool for its multimedia editions in 2010. While they still maintain the proprietary tool for their apps and on the web, they took the audio tracks and joined Amazon’s new program.

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