Speaking of Audiobooks: Notable August Releases, MOBY, and STARZ Outlander

Heroes Are My WeaknessAugust is always a strong month for romance audiobook releases and this year is especially strong evidence of such. Here are just a few titles worthy of your attention in August.

Heroes Are My Weakness – Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Narrated by Erin Bennett

A lover of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ books for at least a dozen years now, I always eagerly anticipate each of her new releases. I’m unfamiliar with Erin Bennett but she’s not new to narrating. At Audible, I found close to Continue reading

Speaking of Audiobooks: Downpour – an Alternative to Audible and a FIVE Credit Giveaway!

Downpour lgWhen audio enthusiasts look for downloadable audiobooks, they usually think of Audible first, unaware that there is now another game in town. Downpour.com, Blackstone Audio’s online audiobook retail site, offers not only competitive pricing but all the ease of downloads you’ll find at Audible. Downpour also offers two additional features that have significantly impacted my buying habits – DRM-free buying and lower pricing for purchasing those extra audiobooks beyond your monthly credits.

The DRM-free factor is big. How often have you been frustrated by your inability to loan your eBooks or downloaded audiobooks? That’s DRM at work. Here’s what Craig Black, founder of Blackstone Audio, has to say about DRM: Continue reading

Speaking of Audiobooks: JIAM, the Audies, and June Recommendations

Audie-LogoJune Is Audiobook Month (JIAM)! That’s not just a statement – it’s also the title of a month long event celebrating audiobooks sponsored by the Audio Publisher’s Association (APA). All month long you will find all sorts of special events and giveaways across the audiobook community. You can participate in some of the action by following two month-long blog hops.

First, the APA has scheduled 31 single audiobook giveaways throughout the month, each featuring one of the 31 Audie Awards winners (announced on May 29th). Bloggers are lined up to give away the winning audiobooks courtesy of the respective publisher. It promises to be a lot of fun and actually started this past Saturday at Audiobooker. Visit Audiobooker to enter for your chance to win the Audiobook of the Year, Billy Crystal’s Still Foolin’ ‘Em, and to discover the next stop (and giveaway) along the way or follow hashtags #audiomonth and/or #Audies2014 on Twitter and Facebook. Continue reading

Speaking of Audiobooks: A BIG May Multi-Audio Giveaway

It Happened One Wedding lgThe selection of exceptional romance audiobooks keeps improving and Spring of 2014 has proven that with old print favorites released as new audiobooks and much-loved authors simultaneously releasing their new books in print and audio format while a number of newer authors (especially New Adult) have become instant hits. This spring, Tantor Audio’s romance offerings have been some of the best ever with outstanding content and narration. We’re featuring a number of those titles today along with a Tantor giveaway.

The Giveaway

We’re giving away five romance audiobooks to one winner courtesy of Tantor Audio. The winner will choose five audiobooks (MP3 CDs) from the ten-plus titles featured below. All titles are either new releases or soon-to-be released. If the winner chooses future releases, those titles will be mailed separately after their release. Continue reading

Speaking of Audiobooks: For the Love of Older Titles in Audio Format

s Baby But MineAlthough I love seeing today’s top romance authors’ books released in audio format, it feels like an even bigger victory when I see the audio release of an older romance jewel with an excellent narrator to match their outstanding content. Today, we’re taking a look at books with an original print publication date prior to 2003 that are now successful audiobooks. The audio version may have been recorded 18 years ago or as recently as 2014. All were once favorites with romance readers and many are still readers’ favorites today as evidenced by their appearance on such lists as AAR’s Top 100. Continue reading

Speaking of Audiobooks: Romance Audio News March 2014

The Luckiest Lady in London 200Today we’re talking about a few promising coming soon or new release titles, taking a look at the audio side of AAR’s recent Annual Poll, sharing the Audie Award Finalists in Romance (complete with an opinion), and providing you with a list of all audiobook reviews at AAR since we started publishing audio reviews separately from Speaking of Audiobooks. There’s a lot going on!

New and Coming Soon Titles 

Sherry Thomas

The Luckiest Lady in London, the winner of AAR’s Best Romance of 2013 Continue reading

Speaking of Audiobooks: It’s Here – Lord of Scoundrels in Audio Format!

Lord of Scoundrels lgRomance audio enthusiasts – it’s here! After years of wishing for Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels in audio format, Blackstone Audio released this eternal romance favorite on January 28th. To make it even more irresistible, the highly talented Kate Reading narrates.

In both the 2011 and 2012 Speaking of Audiobooks Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll, Loretta Chase was overwhelmingly voted the Author’s Romance Backlist You Most Want to See in Audio. And, in discussions at Speaking of Audiobooks, our Romance Audiobooks Goodreads group, and beyond, romance listeners mentioned that Lord of Scoundrels was at the top of their Loretta Chase wish list. Continue reading

Speaking of Audiobooks: Best Settings for Importing Audiobook CDs to iTunes

CDs to MP3 playerDo you rip audiobooks from CDs into iTunes so you can listen to them on your iPod? If so, adjusting your iTunes import settings beforehand is a must. These easy changes will save precious space on your iPod and your computer’s hard drive but won’t affect your listening experience. How’s that you ask?

iTunes default import settings are for music; the settings work fine with audiobooks but make the book files much larger than they need to be. Audiobooks don’t require the same quality settings as music in order to enjoy listening.

For example, Audible’s Format 4 at 32 kbps was the highest quality download offered for years before introducing their “e” for “enhanced” format at 64 kbps. In comparison, iTunes imports an audiobook at 128 kbps if the settings are left to default. This makes your audiobook files twice the size of Audible’s “e” format and four times the size of Format 4 downloads. There is simply no need for audiobooks to be that size, taking up prime space on your player. Continue reading

Speaking of Audiobooks: Top Ten 2013 Romance Listens

FFTS and MM -final coversAlthough we’re seeing the audio romance section over at Audible brimming with unknown authors and narrators these days, it’s an indication that romance audiobooks are more popular than ever and the number of quality titles is on the rise as well. 2013 offered the best selection yet of highly entertaining, exceptionally written and performed audiobooks. My Top Ten List could easily number twenty-five.

When choosing the year’s Top Ten romance titles, it goes without saying that the author’s writing and the narrator’s performance are the most influential factors. With the proliferation of home studios, production plays a bigger role each year as those who take the time to give us a seamless listen without awkward corrections, noisy intakes of breath, or poor sound quality deserve recognition as well. And although all of these elements were taken into consideration when making my selections, there’s another dynamic that sometimes comes into play and overrides all the others – it’s that sense of being swept away – a gut feel that tells me “This was a perfect listen for me.”  Here’s hoping that my Top Ten Listens will provide you with the same. Continue reading

Speaking of Audiobooks: An Audio Take on the Top 100

The Devil in WinterIt’s time for another audio take on the Top 100 List. We did so back in 2010 and, at the time, the list contained 58 unabridged audio titles. This year, there are 70 (one abridged, 69 unabridged). Just as with AAR’s Top 100 list of print titles, a good number are titles from the previous poll – 45 to be exact. Where did those 25 new titles come from? In the world of audiobooks, it’s just as likely that older titles are contributing to that number as new titles. Over the past three years, we have seen new audio releases of old favorites including such as Jennifer Ashley’s The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, Laura Kinsale’s Flowers From The Storm and The Shadow and The Star, Elizabeth Hoyt’s The Raven Prince, Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor, Georgette Heyer’s The Grand Sophy, and soon – Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels.

At a later Speaking of Audiobooks, we’ll feature those audiobooks contained within The Best of the Rest, those books that ranked from 101 to 200 in the 2013 Top 100 Poll. There are another 65 audio jewels hidden in that list.

Continuing our inclusion of sound samples (other than those found at Audible), you’ll find samples within the list below of five audiobooks romance listeners hold in high regard – Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ It Had To Be You, Elizabeth Hoyt’s The Raven Prince, Lisa Kleypas’ Blue-Eyed Devil, and Linda Howard’s After The Night. Each includes that all-important interaction between the hero and heroine, something you seldom find in an Audible sample. Of course, there are dozens more we wish we could include.

Each title is numbered by its ranking on the Top 100 print list. Since we’re leaving the print titles off this list, the numbering will appear inconsistent. As an example, the first six books on the Top 100 list are available in audio format. The seventh, ninth, and tenth are not. Therefore, the list skips from sixth to eighth to eleventh.

Although our list of Top 100 audiobooks would likely differ greatly from this list since the narrator’s performance heavily impacts the success of an audio title, I feel safe in saying there are fans of each of these audio titles. I encourage you to ask in our comments area if you are unfamiliar with a narrator of a title you think will be of interest. Continue reading