Tag: Audiobooks

Meryl Streep Narrates New Charlotte’s Web Audiobook

Charlotte’s Web, one of the most iconic works in children’s fiction, is getting a new audiobook! Each beloved character is voiced by a different actor, but perhaps even more exciting than this is the fact that the role of narrator is read by Meryl Streep.

 

Image via People

 

Streep is one of the Hollywood’s most revered actresses. Over the course of her career she has been nominated for 21 academy awards, has played titular characters in iconic films like The Devil Wears Prada and Mamma Mia, and has spent the past two years starring in HBO’s Big Little Lies

 

 

Streep certainly doesn’t need the extra work (especially so soon after the premiere of Netflix’s The Laundromat, which has already received 8 award nominations), but we should all be grateful that she decided to put in for the time.

 

Streep in the late 70’s/Image via Vulture

 

On top of the privilege of getting to hear Streep’s iconically dulcet tones read one of your favorite childhood stories, this new audiobook will also feature an appreciation written and read by Melissa Sweet. Sweet, a Caldecott Honor winner, is the author and illustrator behind works like A River of Words and You Nest Here With Me.

 

 

Plus, fans of the original story can look forward to having their favorite characters brought to life by a full cast. The roles of Charlotte and Wilbur will be played by voice actors January LaVoy and Kirby Heyborne, respectively.

This new audio rendition of Charlotte’s Web will be available for listening this Tuesday, though it’s available for preorder now!

 

 

 

Featured images via People and Variety

Here’s How Audible Teaches Authors to Create Their Own Audiobooks

Audible’s publishing platform, Audiobook Creation Exchange, connects your favorite stories to the actors who can bring them to life! It’s been a valuable tool that’s helped produce 160,00 audiobooks already. Now, Audible is bringing that power to produce stellar audiobooks to more people through their ACX University program.

Image via audible.com

ACX University is a series of live broadcasts from Audible that aims to give authors and actors the tools and strategies needed to make great audiobooks for Audible’s platform. The first episode debuts at 5:30 p.m. October 28 and is titled “Transform Your Career: The Makeover Episode.”

In later episodes, ACX University will teach on topics ranging from marketing to finding your brand as an audiobook producer. They’re bringing in industry experts like Scott Brick, who’s narrated over 950(!) audiobooks, to give viewers valuable information about the industry. Jessica Hawkins, a USA Today bestseller, will also be leading a seminar on everything you need to do 90 days before and after your audiobook is published.

image via Audible.com

Of course,  voice actors hoping to get their start in the industry and authors who want to bring their books to life are the main focus for ACX University. But it will also be interesting to readers who are curious about how their favorite audiobooks get made. Personally, I’m excited to take a peek behind the curtain, and I’m hoping some of my favorite authors use ACX University to bring the sweet sounds of literature to my ears.

Featured image via Audible.com

Growing Number of U.S. Adults Just Don’t Read Books

More than a quarter (27%) of U.S. adults say they haven’t read a book in the last year. No print books, no e-books, not even an audiobook – nothing! I know, I know, book lovers might be kind of shocked to learn how many Americans simply don’t enjoy reading all that much.

 

 

In a survey of 1,502 American adults, the Pew Research Center found there is a growing section of the population that doesn’t read at all. This statistic is up from 19% in 2011 when Pew began collecting data.

In a graphic published by the Pew Research Center, they broke down how book-reading habits vary by age, income, and community type:

 

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Pew found that college graduates and more affluent Americans are more likely to have read a book than others, reaffirming the prevailing wisdom that ease-of-access is one of the most important factors for increasing literacy.

In another study, Pew found that the typical American has read at least four books in 12 months. But Americans, on average, read 12 books a year.

And while e-books and audiobooks are growing, it appears their popularity comes at the expense of the popularity of print books. 37% of American say they only read print books, 28% read or listen to digital formats, and about 7% of Americans say they exclusively read books in digital formats and totally eschew print books.

 

 

Nevertheless, print is still king. Leading 7% over e-books, Americans still seem to prefer physical copies to their digital counterparts.

Moral of the story: let’s get reading! We gotta get those numbers up.

 

 

 

Featured image via Time magazine

Wil Wheaton Will Narrate New ‘Looking for Alaska’ Audiobook

Ahead of the highly anticipated Hulu adaptation of John Green‘s Looking for Alaska, it’s been announced that Wil Wheaton will be lending his voice for a new audiobook version of the bestseller.

 

Wil WHeaton/Image via Gazette

 

Wheaton is best known for his childhood roles in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Stand by Me. Wheaton’s more recent roles include playing himself on The Big Bang Theory, and voicing Flash in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.

 

 

Wheaton has always been very public with his love of all things nerd culture, much like Green. Looking for Alaska, follows the story of a young man who is based on a teenaged version of Green, making this project a perfect fit.

The original audiobook version of the novel was read by Jeff Woodman, a professional narrator. Though the update is probably being made for the purpose of promoting the Hulu series, it also seems like Wheaton may have more of a personal connection to the story that Looking for Alaska is telling.

 

One of the first looks at the Hulu adaptation/Image via TV Guide

 

The new audiobook will be coming out on September 24th, and the Hulu adaption will premiere on October 18th!

 

 

Featured Images via Amazon and Salon

Audible Responds to Lawsuits, Saying Captions Are Fair Use

Is an audiobook a book? What about the captioning of an audiobook, for hearing impaired or for a quick reference? An ongoing legal battle between Audible and several major book publishers reckons with the definition of what a book even is.

 

Image via Publishers Weekly

 

How Audible’s new Captions technology works is it scrolls a few words of AI-generated captioning to accompany an audiobook’s narration. Audible responded last week with a motion of their own, calling for the publishers’ suit to be dismissed. The legalese of the motion is a tad complex, but here’s the gist of the latest development.

 

 

Audible claims its technology constitutes fair use. The motion to dismiss explains this claim as follows:

 

After listeners purchase an audiobook—and Plaintiffs and their clients are compensated—Audible Captions can help listeners understand it by looking up unfamiliar words, accessing reference materials, or simply verifying and focusing on what they are hearing. This will facilitate access for listeners who have difficulty engaging with audiobooks (or literature in general).

 

Thus, Audible’s lawyers argue, Audible Captions is in line with the purpose of copyright law: “to expand public learning while protecting the incentives of authors to create for the public good.”

In our previous coverage of this ongoing story, we wrote that publishers were angry with Audible because they didn’t give the audiobook platform permission to publish text versions of their titles because e-books require a separate licensing agreement. Audible’s lawyers also argue that claims they have not breached their licensing contract because the user of Audible Captions never has full access to the complete text of the title they’re listening to:

 

Audible Captions is not a book of any kind, much less a replacement for paper books, e-books, or cross-format products.

 

Audible

The Captions in action / Image Via Publishing Perspectives

 

Though the encrypted text is cached on the reader’s device, Audible’s lawyers highlighted the fact that the reader never has direct access to it, so the captions cannot be used except in tandem with the audio recording. Since they’ve paid to license the audio version of the publisher’s titles, and since the text generated by Audible’s technology is not a book in any sense, Audible argues there should not be an issue.

Audible’s lawyers make a convincing argument, and it’s definitely interesting to see how crucial the concept of what a books is to this debate.

 

 

 

Featured Image via The Daily Beast