Tag: becoming

‘A Promised Land’: The Memoir that Took Publishing by Storm

A Promised Land is the first of former President Barack Obama's two presidential volumes. This highly anticipated novel has been, so far, named one of the 10 best books of the year, by The New York Times Book Review, and a Washington Post Notable Book. But, other than the high praise it has received so far, it's also managed to sell 887,000 copies on the first day of publication, breaking records for publishing powerhouse, Penguin Random House.

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You Don’t Want To Miss Audible’s Top BHM Picks

As I should hope you’re all aware by now; February is Black History Month. It’s an international celebration of African-American leaders and artists, and Audible have some top titles to mark the occasion. Abby, Audible editor, says that Audible has chosen to “highlight luminaries who’ve taken the lead in shaping change and movement”. With activism as a core subject, here’s what they’ve picked:

 

Staff picks

The team at Audible have chosen Michelle Obama’s Becoming as a staff favorite, alongside Such a Fun Age and The Skin I’m InThese were chosen for a myriad of very valid reasons, but one thing they share is the incredible authors of color at their helm. Why not take a listen yourself and see if you agree with their choices?

 

MEMOIRS

In telling important stories of African-American experience, it’s important to have an authentic voice. These titles are memoirs from leading speakers and visionaries of color, such as Staceyann Chin and Nelson Mandela. Plus, with such a wide range of titles, there’s something in there to interest everyone.

 

image via shariffa

 

FICTION

Storytelling is an integral part of many different cultures, and in these titles, their authors have ingrained senses as storytellers. This is particularly noted for authors such as Zora Neale Hurston, who retains the vernacular speech in her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. Having a story told in the voice that would have originally told it heightens the entire experience.

 

politics

In activism, a political voice is always necessary. These titles “dive deep into the issues, both past and present”. There’s a wide range of diverse voices from Barack Obama to Stacey Abrams, most of which are narrated by the author themselves. Commemorations of Black History Month often take place in political spheres, too, making this section particularly necessary.

 

image via amazon

 

What’s new?

Some of their titles are free to Audible members for the month of February, like Malcolm and Me written and performed by Ishmael Reed, or Our Harlem written and performed by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson.

On February 18th, two new titles are being released as part of The Great Courses:

African American Athletes Who Made History, written and performed by Louis Moore

Great Figures of the Civil Rights Movement, written and performed by Hasan Kwame Jefferies

Not only are these great titles for the series, they are perfect for Black History Month.

 

Audible have tonnes more to offer from Children/YA literature, to author interviews and profiles. Check out their Black History Month portal here for all of their February content to mark the occasion.

 

Featured Image via amazon


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The Queen of Media Oprah Winfrey Turns 66 Today

Oprah

image via the atlantic

Talk show host, actress, philanthropist, author, and overall Queen of Media Oprah Winfrey celebrates her 66th birthday today.

Winfrey was born Jan. 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi to Vernita Lee and Vernon Winfrey. Her parents separated soon after her birth and she was left in the care of her maternal grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee. Winfrey moved around frequently as a child, bouncing from the urban, poor life of her mother to the safety of her father’s home.

 

 

Oprah says that her life was saved by her father. Her father was quite disciplined and had a focus on education, which made Winfrey a star pupil. Winfrey went on to get a full ride to Tennessee State University and received two offers from CBS before accepting a role as co-anchor of the evening news on WTVF-TV. Winfrey’s role with CBS was groundbreaking because she was the first ever African-American female anchor in Nashville history.

 

Oprah with kindle.
image via pinterest

Her role as anchor wasn’t the only groundbreaking thing Oprah would achieve, as many readers already know. Her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which launched in 1986, won several Emmys for Best Talk Show, and Oprah herself was honored as Best Talk Show Host. She also launched her own production company, Harpo Inc., in the summer of 1986 so she could produce on topics that were important to her.

 

 

Besides her roles on the screen, Oprah has played a significant role in the literary world. Between writing almost 20 books, launching her book club and the Oprah stamp of approval, she has inspired many people to read.

Launched in 1996, the Oprah book club has meticulously selected books for her audience to read, many titles that she selected go on to be bestsellers. Some titles on her prestigious list include Becoming, The Invention of Wings and many other titles.

 

Oprah holding sun does shine book

image via youtube

For all that she has done, in all of her many fields, we here at Bookstr wish the Queen of Media a very happy 66th!

featured image via Biography


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Audiobooks Sales Rise While Books Sales Fall

While physical books might be going out of style, audiobook sales are on the up and up.

 

Audiobook

Image Via The Creative Penn

 

Within the last year Barnes and Nobles was sold, there’s been news here and there about independent book stores struggling like never before, and the debate about whether or not physical books are out style raging on, audiobooks are on the up and up.

 

 

Previously The Daily Beast wrote that “while only 24 percent of Americans say they listened to at least one audio book in 2016, the average listener in that category consumed fifteen books in that same period, mostly on a smartphone.”

This year The Publisher’s Association, which collects and reports on data shared by many publishers across the country, released the 2018 year-end results.

All in all, estimated publisher revenue for downloaded audio increased 28.7% over 2017, meaning that, when it comes to audiobooks, publisher’s revenues grew 181.8% from 2014 to 2018. This is important, considering that audiobooks make up an estimated of 13.7% of publishers’ online sales.

What these numbers mean is that audiobook sales have an estimated worth of a whopping £69 million ($87.44 million).

Physical books, on the other hand, are down by 5%.

Considering the culture of audiobooks, and by extension book culture as a whole, these numbers all of that surprising. Step back, and think what could be the top selling audiobook…

 

It’s Michelle Obama’s Becoming.

 

Michelle Obama's 'Becoming'

Image Via Amazon

Not only did she write the book, but she’s the voice that makes the audiobook, well, into an audiobook.

This isn’t all that surprising. If you want know the story, then why not have the author themselves tell you the story? And Michele Obama must have something to say, being a former US First Lady and mother of two, so why not have her tell you her story complete with the emotion and cadence that can be missed if you skim across the black words on a bone white page.

It’s oral tradition right there on your phone/tablet/desktop that can be played, rewound, or fast-forwarded at your time and convenience.

 

John Grisham's 'The Rooster Bar'

Image Via John Grisham.com

 

Other big sellers were Joe Wicks’s The Fat-Loss Plan: 100 Quick and Easy Recipes with Workouts, Michael Wolff’s White House exposé Fire and Fury and John Grisham’s The Rooster Bar.

 

Stephen Lotinga

Image Via Twitter

BBC News  quotes Publishers Association chief executive Stephen Lotinga as saying that…

Audiobooks have grown phenomenally, as ever-increasing numbers of people opt to enjoy books in a way that suits new technologies and keeps pace with our busy lives.

 

 

Really? Consider this: Listening to audiobooks have less to do with having time reading a book. When reading a novel yourself, you can control how fast you read per word. The phrase ‘You can read’ can be read however faster or slowly you wish, and you can speed up between every other syllable.

So if when listening to an audiobook the speed of the speaker might have some external controls, but the control technology gives you is not as intricate of the control you have over yourself, then why listen to audiobooks if you can read much faster?

Because I can’t read a book and run on a treadmill at the same time. Because books take up valuable space in my backpack. Because I can play an audiobook in my car while I drive instead of reading and driving.

Roger Packer notes that, when polled, audiobook listeners revealed that they listened rather then read the book because “hey can do other things while listening (81%), They can listen wherever they are (80%); and Audiobooks are portable (75%)”.

The Guardian also notes that, “Lotinga said the rise in the popularity of podcasts, with the music streaming giant Spotify spending up to $500m this year buying podcast companies to tap the boom, was indirectly helping the book market.”

The same reason are moving away from CDs to streaming is the same reason why, despite the hits, UK’s took that surprise 5.4% decline.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via The Irish Times