Thursday, May 15, 2014

Interview with AudioFile Publisher Michele Cobb

1.      As the publisher if AudioFile Magazine tell us what trends you are seeing in audiobooks today? More, more and by the way, MORE. It’s been an amazing production explosion over the last few years. We are excited that more people are listening and that there is more for them to choose from these days. It’s impressive to see how publishers, narrators and producers have ramped up their activities to meet demand and to continue to expand the industry. AudioFile is working hard to review as many titles as possible and we’ve launched REX – our weekly recommendations engine with the best of the best reviewed titles. We encourage people to check it out at

2.      Though audiobooks have grown in popularity they haven't exactly taken off either. What would boost audiobook consumption? Well I’d argue that portable players and mobile phones have boosted consumption. A decade ago when I said the word audiobook it took a little while to talk someone through what it was and it usually involved the phrase “Oh, you mean books on tape…” Now when I mention audiobooks most people know exactly what they are. We continue to strive to grow the listening market and attract consumers of all ages. On May 15th the SYNC program, sponsored by AudioFile, launches at The intent is to introduce young people to listening and get them hooked. Each week we give away 2 titles (the first week is Eoin Colfer’s WARP: The Reluctant Assassin and the H.G. Wells Classic The Time Machine. Listening Library has generously donated the downloads and OverDrive powers the program which has been growing leaps and bounds every year since its inception in 2010. Cooperative efforts like these continue to grow the market.

3.      Where do you see audiobooks and book publishing in five years? Well obviously we are being influenced by the explosion of self-publishing, but the need for well-edited, well-curated content with marketing engines behind it will always be there. At AudioFile we hope that in 5 years we’re keeping up with times – focused on the digital market and able to keep up with the number of titles being produced.

4.      June is AudioBook Month. Why do you love audiobooks --- and why should we? I am a multi-tasker – pretty much incapable of doing only one thing. I discovered audiobooks as a touring children’s theatre director who spend way too much time driving and not nearly enough time reading. Audiobooks were both an entertainment and consumption necessity for me and now I’m never without one. I’ve got one going in the car and one on my computer and one on my phone at all times. And audiobooks encourage expansion of your reading comfort zone. I’m not a heavy non-fiction reader with my eyes, but I enjoy non-fiction very much when it is read to me by a talented narrator.

5.      You just launched Sound Talent. What is it and why should we follow it?
Sound Talent is our new e-newsletter that features the skills and accomplishments of narrators – who are crucial to the success of an audiobook. Skillful narration is truly an art – finding the rhythm of the books and characters means more than just having a good voice. Great narrators inhabit the books without getting in the way. I know many listeners who get invested in particular narrators and actively seek them out when searching for a new listen. Sound Talent is designed to highlight narrators who have read something recent really well and also to put them in front of producers and publishers who hire for jobs.

Anyone can sign up at in the newsletter box in the lower right corner. And here’s a direct link to our newsletter sign up page (which includes our other newsletters and the SYNC program).

6.      Do you publish an audio version of your magazine? We do a portion of our reviews as audio versions and we are just about to do an audio interview with author Karin Slaughter. Check out our sound cloud page for all of these treats.

7.      How do audiobooks further literacy? Audiobooks have been proven time and time again to further comprehension and are especially important for auditory learners. I know my 6 year old is reading way above her grade level in part because she was exposed to audiobooks in the womb. She got excited about words and reading long before she could comprehend the letters and now she is a book and audiobook fiend.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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