Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

A Saving Grace for the Publishing World

“…the first quarter of the year, [was] a period during which sales of hardback books slumped and e-books fell precipitously…”

Audiobook Narrators

originally posted to Flickr by Steve Bowbrick at

That quote is in an article on Salon‘s site that I’m reporting on today: Stars of the Spoken Word: Meet the Audiobook Narrators Who Are Quietly Saving Book Publishing.

This excerpt almost glows:

“Even in these cynical, ruthlessly pragmatic days, where art has become ‘content’ and many have lost faith in the ability of literature to illuminate our lives, there remains one dogged subculture that believes deeply in the power of the aesthetic. To them, the arts still have something holy about them.

“These idealists are audiobook narrators.”

I must admit I’ve listened to nearly no audiobooks…

Not sure why, except, perhaps that I’m a writer and I need to stay at a reading speed that lets my writer’s mind do a bit of scrutiny; and, perhaps, also, that the voice of the narrator isn’t what I’m used to hearing in my head :-)

As usual, I’ll share a few more excerpts to encourage you to read the full Salon article:

“…the boom in audiobooks — sales of which increased by 35.3 percent in the first quarter of the year… — shows a rare bit of good news for the publishing world. ‘It’s definitely the fastest growing part of the publishing industry these days’, Annie Coreno, reviews editor for Publishers Weekly, told Salon.”


“The expansion is expected to continue for years to come.”


“Some audiobooks — especially the classics — are read by famous actors: Nicole Kidman narrates Virginia Woolf’s ‘To the Lighthouse’, Samuel L. Jackson reads Chester Himes’ ‘A Rage in Harlem’, and Jeremy Irons has drawn acclaim for his renditions of ‘Lolita’ and Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Brideshead Revisited’.”

The article continues with a fascinating peep into the world of less well-known but equally capable audiobook narrators—“the character actors of the literary world”.

There’s discussion of the various “philosophies” of narration and info like this:

Reports of annual earnings show the median somewhere between the mid-$30,000s and mid-$40,000s, depending on where a narrator is based and the size of their reputation.”

So, have you listened to audiobooks?

Are you a person who does it regularly?

Have any favorite narrators?

Do, please, share in the Comments :-)

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