Tag: Audiobooks

‘Children of Blood and Bone’ Best Audiobook of 2018

The cover to 'Children of Blood and Bone' by Tomi Adeyemi

Image Via Barnes and Noble

 

According to Publisher’s WeeklyChildren of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi won big at last night’s 24th annual Audie Awards. Held in Manhattan, the awards recognize outstanding audiobooks and spoken-word entertainment. Children of Blood and Bone is the debut novel from young author Tomi Adeyemi, and it depicts the story of a young woman called Zélie Adebola who leads her clan of maji against a brutally oppressive regime. A popular YA fantasy novel, the book the first in a highly-anticipated series and has already climbed the ranks of The New York Times’ bestseller list. The audiobook’s narrator is Bahni Turpin, known for her roles in Malcolm X and Cold Case Files. 

The book took home the award for Top Audiobook of the Year, a well deserved win for such a striking debut. Other highlights of the evening included Edoardo Ballerini winning Best Male Narrator for his narration of Watchers by Dean Koontz, Julia Whelan taking home Best Female Narrator for Educated by Tara Westover, and Richard Armitage nabbing Best Audio Drama for The Martian Invasion of Earth by HG Wells.

Tomi Adeyemi and Bahni Turpin are no doubt very pleased with their win. We look forward to seeing more entries in this series!

 

Featured Image Via Publisher’s Weekly.

Publishing Isn’t Dead: Spike in Audiobook, YA Profits

We book lovers are subject to one constant anxiety: the death of literature as we know it. (Okay, two anxieties: the first is fear for our favorite characters’ lives.) The headlines are as clear as they are grim—publishing companies are losing money, physical bookstores are closing, fewer Americans are reading than ever before. It’s frightening for readers and writers alike to consider that the stories we care so much about may not always exist in a familiar, comforting way… or they might not exist at all.

These claims have varying degrees of truth. Yes, many Americans don’t read. But the claim about bookstores disappearing is only partially true: while chain bookstores have continually lost money and closed locations over the past ten years, indie bookstores are experiencing a period of growth. It’s much the same with publishing: self-publishing may be on the rise, but big publishers haven’t gone away. Despite all the grim news, the facts are a lot more optimistic. A recent financial report revealed which book genres and categories generated increasing profits in 2018—and, spoiler alert, it’s actually most of them.

 

"Print is dead is dead."

Image Via Kodak

 

The report compares profits in 2017 and 2018, indicating which genres generated revenue over the last year. This suggests which categories will continue to grow in 2019—and should offer a reason for book lovers to relax!

Though eBooks tend to get the most buzz, particularly with the widely-discussed self-publishing trend, it’s actually audiobooks that experienced the most growth (37.1%). Surprisingly, it’s eBooks that experienced a financial loss (-3.6%). Of course, figures like that can be a little abstract—in concrete terms, eBooks still made $1 billion in 2018.

Children’s and YA books also had notable financial gains, with 3.3 and 4.5% increases respectively.

Adult books generated significant revenue ($247.4 million) although some subcategories experienced financial decline. Audiobook and hardcover sales increased; mass-market paperbacks and physical audiobooks declined significantly. Since we’re pretty sure physical audiobooks refer to CDs and cassette tapes, we’re going to have to follow up with a resounding duh. These results plainly suggest that publishing isn’t dead (or even dying).

 

Publishing revenue chart shows increased earnings

Image vIA pENGUIN rANDOM hOUSE

 

Since publishers’ revenue increased overall (4.6%), maybe now you’ll be able to sleep at night—unless your next favorite read is keeping you awake!

 

Featured Image Via University of Cambridge

A book with headphones over the cover, representing an audiobook

Got 113 Hours to Spare? Check out the World’s Longest Audiobooks!

All audiobooks feel long when you’re unable to concentrate on them—so imagine how much trouble you’d have with these behemoths. To understand just how long a really long audiobook actually is, let’s compare that length to some more familiar reads. Fyodor Dostoyevsky‘s classic The Brothers Karamazov is famous as both a literary classic and a book you lied about reading, probably from fear of the decade it would take you to finish. It’s also famous for its staggering length: 824 pages and thirty-four hours. (Congratulations to yourselves for your patience, Dostoyevsky fans. And congratulations to those of you who listened to the audiobook.)

 

Fyodor Dostoyevsky's 'The Brothers Karamazov'

Image Via Lisanotes.com

If you’re not into the classics, the longest book you actually read might have been A Game of Thrones: a Song of Ice and FireThat’s 624 pages and thirty-three hours. Some people call Audible the Netflix of audiobooks, but this audiobook would be much harder to binge. If these seem impossibly long to you, you’re going to have to adjust your standards. The Brothers Karamazov ranks #15 on the list of longest audiobooks, with A Song of Ice and Fire at a respectable #18. You might be asking yourself, “how are these not higher on the list?” This is how:

 

1. Fifty Lectures

 

Ross Geller giving a lecture gif

Gif Via Gifycat.com

 

Takaaki Yoshimoto‘s Fifty Lectures is what the title would indicate: fifty lectures from Yoshimoto’s long tenure as a philosopher, poet, and literary critic. But the title doesn’t give any indication of the length… which is a lot longer than fifty hours. At 113 hours and forty-three minutes, Fifty Lectures is the longest audiobook of all time. You don’t have to do the math to tell how long that is—but if you did want to do the math, you’d know that listening to the book would take five full consecutive days. Since a commercial flight around the world takes fifty-one minimum hours, it would be faster to do it twice than listen to this entire book.

 

2. The Bible

 

The Bible in a hotel drawer

Image Via Travelandleisure.com

 

Some people dedicate all their lives to their faith. Some people dedicate seventy-eight hours. At 752,702 words, the Bible is over three times as long as J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—which, at 198,000 words, seems like a short story in comparison.

 

3. War and Peace

 

Leo Tolstoy's 'War and Peace' sitting on a scale

Image Via Wordcounter.net

 

When you Google search Leo Tolstoy‘s War and Peace, the first suggestion is “War and Peace is so long.” Weighing nearly four poundsWar and Peace is also 1,251 pages and 587,287 words long, making it a serious heavy-hitter. It’s no wonder that, with a monumental page count, it’s sixty-two hours and eighteen minutes long. It would be a wonder if you managed to listen to the whole thing.

 

4. Les Miserables

 

Marius says, "I'm doing everything all wrong."

Everyone attempting to actually read Les Mis
Image Via Pinterest.com

 

Fans sometimes affectionately, sometimes furiously, refer to Victor Hugo‘s monstrous novel as ‘The Brick.’ Since the novel is large enough to be used as a blunt force murder weapon, the comparison is appropriate. Les Miserables, a story of the rich cultural context of the French Revolution, is one of the world’s longest novels, 1,900 pages in its original French. Naturally, it also contains one of the world’s longest published sentences; this one is over 800 words. Maybe Victor Hugo can pull it off, but your English teacher won’t want you to try. If you can’t get through this sentence, you’re not going to make it through the fifty-six hours and fifty-four minutes of audiobook.

 

The son of a father to whom history will accord certain attenuating circumstances, but also as worthy of esteem as that father had been of blame; possessing all private virtues and many public virtues; careful of his health, of his fortune, of his person, of his affairs, knowing the value of a minute and not always the value of a year; sober, serene, peaceable, patient; a good man and a good prince; sleeping with his wife, and having in his palace lackeys charged with the duty of showing the conjugal bed to the bourgeois, an ostentation of the regular sleeping-apartment which had become useful after the former illegitimate displays of the elder branch; knowing all the languages of Europe, and, what is more rare, all the languages of all interests, and speaking them; an admirable representative of the “middle class,” but outstripping it, and in every way greater than it; possessing excellent sense, while appreciating the blood from which he had sprung, counting most of all on his intrinsic worth, and, on the question of his race, very particular, declaring himself Orleans and not Bourbon; thoroughly the first Prince of the Blood Royal while he was still only a Serene Highness, but a frank bourgeois from the day he became king; diffuse in public, concise in private; reputed, but not proved to be a miser; at bottom, one of those economists who are readily prodigal at their own fancy or duty; lettered, but not very sensitive to letters; a gentleman, but not a chevalier; simple, calm, and strong; adored by his family and his household; a fascinating talker, an undeceived statesman, inwardly cold, dominated by immediate interest, always governing at the shortest range, incapable of rancor and of gratitude, making use without mercy of superiority on mediocrity, clever in getting parliamentary majorities to put in the wrong those mysterious unanimities which mutter dully under thrones; unreserved, sometimes imprudent in his lack of reserve, but with marvellous address in that imprudence; fertile in expedients, in countenances, in masks; making France fear Europe and Europe France! Incontestably fond of his country, but preferring his family; assuming more domination than authority and more authority than dignity, a disposition which has this unfortunate property, that as it turns everything to success, it admits of ruse and does not absolutely repudiate baseness, but which has this valuable side, that it preserves politics from violent shocks, the state from fractures, and society from catastrophes; minute, correct, vigilant, attentive, sagacious, indefatigable; contradicting himself at times and giving himself the lie; bold against Austria at Ancona, obstinate against England in Spain, bombarding Antwerp, and paying off Pritchard; singing the Marseillaise with conviction, inaccessible to despondency, to lassitude, to the taste for the beautiful and the ideal, to daring generosity, to Utopia, to chimeras, to wrath, to vanity, to fear; possessing all the forms of personal intrepidity; a general at Valmy; a soldier at Jemappes; attacked eight times by regicides and always smiling; brave as a grenadier, courageous as a thinker; uneasy only in the face of the chances of a European shaking up, and unfitted for great political adventures; always ready to risk his life, never his work; disguising his will in influence, in order that he might be obeyed as an intelligence rather than as a king; endowed with observation and not with divination; not very attentive to minds, but knowing men, that is to say requiring to see in order to judge; prompt and penetrating good sense, practical wisdom, easy speech, prodigious memory; drawing incessantly on this memory, his only point of resemblance with Caesar, Alexander, and Napoleon; knowing deeds, facts, details, dates, proper names, ignorant of   tendencies, passions, the diverse geniuses of the crowd, the interior aspirations, the hidden and obscure uprisings of souls, in a word, all that can be designated as the invisible currents of consciences; accepted by the surface, but little in accord with France lower down; extricating himself by dint of tact; governing too much and not enough; his own first minister; excellent at creating out of the pettiness of realities an obstacle to the immensity of ideas; mingling a genuine creative faculty of civilization, of order and organization, an indescribable spirit of proceedings and chicanery, the founder and lawyer of a dynasty; having something of Charlemagne and something of an attorney; in short, a lofty and original figure, a prince who understood how to create authority in spite of the uneasiness of France, and power in spite of the jealousy of Europe, — Louis Philippe will be classed among the eminent men of his century, and would be ranked among the most illustrious governors of history had he loved glory but a little, and if he had had the sentiment of what is great to the same degree as the feeling for what is useful.

 

That sentence was pretty much a brick of text all by itself.

 

5. Truman

 

President Truman's biography... the most expensive audiobook of all time

Image Via Audible.com

 

David McCullough‘s biography of former U.S. President Harry S. Truman is 1,120 pages and 464,000 words, a giant clocking in at fifty-three hours and twenty minutes of audiobook time. Think that’s wild? You’d be right—and at $94 to listen, the price is even crazier. Truman might not be the longest audiobook, but it is the most expensive. If the length doesn’t deter you, the cost might… or maybe your interest in Harry S. Truman surpasses all your other instincts.

Sleeping bookworms

This Writer Makes Serious Money Putting Readers to Sleep

As a writer, the most important thing is to hold the reader’s attention… unless you’re paid not to.

 

In an era of deeper intersecting of technology and consumerism, even sleep has become a business. Sleep app Calm aspires to be the best in that business, offering audio libraries of music playlists, guided meditations, and relaxation classes. (Sounds fake, say the students, who do not find class at all relaxing.) But its most popular feature is its Sleep Stories: twenty to forty minute audio stories read aloud by comforting voices, including that of Stephen Fry. Calm asks: “we loved having bedtime stories read to us as children, so why should that stop now that we’re all grown up?”

 

Calm's 'Sleep Stories' promotional banner

Image Via Calm

 

When travel writer Phoebe Smith got a call from Calm founder Michael Acton Smith, she wasn’t sure whether or not to feel insulted. She reacted: “should I be really offended that he thinks my writing has the effect of boring people to sleep?” As a travel writer, there’s a particular incentive to be exciting—yours is the story to take people around the world on their vicarious vacations (a vacation on which there need not be overbooked hotels or unpleasant airplane passengers). P. Smith thinks that travel writing and ‘sleep writing’ aren’t necessarily opposites, citing her primary goalas “encouraging [listeners’] imaginations to play.” Her most popular story, “Blue Gold,” offers a “soothing tour of the lavender fields and sleepy villages of Provence.” It has around 15 million listens.

 

Lavender fields of Provence

Image Via Traveler Comments

 

No one is sleeping on Calm—the app recently hit a staggering value of $230 billion. Calm launched some of its profits into the world’s first “sleep story tour,” which may be one of the only events at which it’s ruder not to fall asleep.

 

Preview for "Blue Gold," narrated by Stephen Fry

Image Via Byrdie

 

Is there anything about sleep writing that isn’t a dream? Smith admits there is one problem: “people say to me, ‘I really love the stories, but I never get to the end!'”

 

 

Featured Image Via Healthline.com