Speaking of Audiobooks: Those Older Hard-to-Find Romances

One SummerListening to a variety of romance audiobooks these days is a fairly simple process. With a large selection that is easily accessible either through competitive pricing or your local library, there’s little to complain about.  But as I look at the variety of audiobooks offered today, I know, as a long time audio enthusiast, that there’s more – a missing segment I guess you could say – from years gone by.

Many of these rarely seen audiobooks are the very ones I cut my romance audiobook teeth on.  They’re still out there but most are in cassette tape format and, if you are able to locate a copy, the price is usually steep.  I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand the process of choosing older romances for today’s audio offerings (it’s a well kept secret as far as I can tell) and the effect the entire licensing issue has on the selection process is beyond my comprehension.  Still, I’m always hoping another one of these lost treasures will be rereleased in an affordable MP3 or CD format.  After all, we’ve seen it happen many times over the past few years.  Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, Stephanie Laurens’ Devil’s Bride, and Katherine Sutcliffe’s Notorious are just a few excellent examples of those cassette tape offerings that, after a number of years, finally appeared and became available to many of us rather than just a few with deep pockets and the willingness to listen on a cassette tape player.

What are some of those cassette tape jewels just waiting in the wings for an affordable format?  At the top of my list is Lisa Kleypas’ Suddenly You.  Although I sold many of my cassette tape romances on eBay a number of years ago, I just couldn’t let this one go.  If you can find the cassette tape format, it currently sells in the $70–$80 range (I found only two copies) or it’s now available in CD format at Recorded Books for $46.95.  The most excellent Jill Tanner narrates and I know this one would thrill many a romance audio fan.  So, when will Recorded Books let go and let more of us enjoy Suddenly You at a more reasonable price?

Also sitting at the top of my desired rerelease audiobook list is One Summer by Karen Robards.  I’ve had it on my Wish List at half.com for five years now just waiting for notification of an affordable copy.  Checking around earlier this week I discovered that One Summer is narrated by Kate Fleming (yes – that’s Anna Fields) – how had I missed that?  Still, the asking price was more than I wanted to spend, so I emailed my daughter (whose been asking just what I wanted for my birthday) and I’m pretty sure I’ll be listening to this one in August (I saw one disappear from Amazon’s offerings).  Yes, I’ll have to be pulling out my trusty old Sony Walkman Sports cassette tape player but, honestly, a favorite book and Anna Fields?

morning gloryAnother oldie I’ve been hunting for quite a while now is LaVyrle Spencer’s Morning Glory.  It’s easy to find in the abridged version but it is out there, somewhere, in unabridged format.  Recorded Books produced it in 2003, I have an ISBN number, and Kate Forbes narrates.  I’m really hoping it’s rereleased one of these days in MP3 or CD format but it’s another one I’d happily listen to in cassette tape format.

Mary Balogh’s More Than a Mistress also falls into that hard to find cassette tape category (I could find no copies for sale) and it’s one that still sits in my audio library.  It’s not on my relisten list since narrator Jenny Sterlin performs the part of the Duke (already a harsh character) just a little too harshly for my ear.  Regardless, More Than a Mistress is a well known older Balogh that occupies a place on many a reader’s favorites list and one I believe would work well as a rerelease.

As I prepared for this column, I discovered that Connie Brockway actually has a few unabridged audiobooks as well and all three are affordable, although used, and offered only in cassette tape format.  It’s the McClairen Isle trilogy, The Passionate One, The Reckless One, and The Ravishing One.  I’m unfamiliar with narrator Donata Peters but I would certainly give these a try in MP3 or CD format.

When it comes to contemporary romance, there are a good number of gems crying for rerelease as well.  Karen Robards 1990s titles are often available as unabridged audiobooks (although there are even more abridged titles) but most are offered only as cassette tapes.  Among those I hopefully can enjoy on my MP3 player someday are The Midnight Hour (narrated by Barbara Rosenblat, no less), Ghost Moon, and Walking After Midnight.  And then there’s Ruth Wind’s In the Midnight Rain available in cassette tape and CD format (but not affordably – those I saw started around $50.00).  And one I really want to get my hands on is Judith McNaught’s Someone to Watch Over Me.  It’s another one narrated by the incomparable Barbara Rosenblat but, unfortunately, there are few available.  Prices start at $85.00 and that’s in cassette tape format.  The sheer improbability of ever owning this particular audio drove me to check with my library and they have it!

Only one abridged audiobook sits on my rerelease hope list and that is Penelope Williamson’s Heart of the West.  I recently found it in my cassette tape library in a relatively untouched stack along with several other abridged romances (a few with the plastic covering still in place).  I clearly recall the day I made that stack.  It was after I listened to the 2 hour and 54 minute train wreck of an abridged audiobook, A Knight in Shining Armor, by Jude Deveraux (why, oh why wasn’t there an unabridged version?).  But as I look closely at Heart of the West, I see that its length is approximately 5 hours and is narrated by Amy Brenneman.  I think this is one abridged book that just may work.  I may even venture listening to it now rather than waiting for an uncertain rerelease.

Game of KingsLastly, I must mention a series that doesn’t fall into the romance category but is cherished by many romance readers – Dorothy Dunnett’s The Lymond Chronicles.  I’ve often wondered in the past if these were available (and at the same time wondered if I could get all the myriad of details straight in audio format) but still it sounded like a fine thing to me.  Earlier this week, I discovered that all six in the series are indeed available in audio format but in very sore need of greater availability and repricing.  The first three Game of Kings, Queen’s Play, and The Disorderly Knights are available in CD format through Recorded Books while I found the last three, Pawn in Frankincense, The Ringed Castle, and Checkmate in cassette tape format used on Amazon or available for rental through Recorded Books.  The lowest list prices range from $75.00 to $154.00 each.  It sounds great but obtaining the entire series appears not only expensive but complicated as well.  It looks like it’s time to check your local library system if you’re interested (mine only had two of the six).

Of course, along with the hopeful anticipation that we may one day see these missing treasures rereleased comes the sense of adventure in seeking them out in their current format (I so enjoy the thrill of the hunt) and vigilantly watching for news concerning their possible rerelease.  However, if I’m serious about listening to many of these hard to find audiobooks in cassette tape format, it’s obvious that I need to become very well acquainted with my local library system.

Audible Applications for Mobile Phones

Earlier this month, Audible released applications for iPhones and Blackberry smartphones.  Diana has been working with Audible this past month as a volunteer beta tester for their new iPhone app and I asked her to share her impressions:

The app is very pretty, visually pleasing, and I love the library format and sort options. You get cover art and blurbs! I tested on a 3GS phone with 4OS software and had no problems. Navigation is quite clever and intuitive.

It went up in the Apple app store today (free) and I highly recommend. Droid version is still in beta testing and will be available soon.

The most obvious – and surprising – lack is the ability to purchase through your device. I told them that is a must! I think they have enabled multitasking but it may work only on 4G phones and iPad.

What I like very much –

* Choice of sorting criteria: Recent, Title, Author

* Ability to bookmark and annotate

* Share — I sent an update via Twitter

* The book blurb and cover art

* Button-free swiping (I love this!)

* Sleep timer

* I’ve had bookmark failure (does not restart, but goes to beginning when resumed) on iPhone, but not iPod, before. No problems with the app.

Thanks Diana!

MP3 Cases

I have a 4th generation iPod nano and prefer a clip on case to allow for easy attachment to my shirt or waistband.  Although I didn’t really care for it, I purchased Apple’s clip on case only to have it break within several months.  Figuring I had somehow unknowingly abused it, I purchased a second Apple clip on case only to have it break yet again (and I treated it very gently – just used it a dozen times a day).  The Apple store offers no other clip type case (spring loaded variety) and I find myself greatly inconvenienced and unable to locate another around town.  I must add that I had no problem with my previous generation two iPod nano clip on case (not an Apple product) and used it for three years.  Does anyone have a good source for cases not only for Apple products but other MP3 players as well?

Time for Your Thoughts

What older hard to find audiobooks do you want to see rereleased?

Do you listen to audiobooks on a cassette tape player or would you if that were your only option?

Do you know where to locate some of these hard to find romances?

What is your favorite audiobook that is available only in cassette tape format?

Will you be utilizing Audible’s new mobile phone apps?

Do you know of a reliable source for MP3 cases?

And as always, do you have any recent audiobook success of failure to share with us?

Ending Notes

I’m announcing new audiobook releases as they occur each weekday on Twitter.  I don’t cover every new release but attempt to include the more significant titles.  To follow me on Twitter, look for LeaAAR.

For those new to our Speaking of Audiobooks column, please check out our audio archives.

I’ll be back with you again later this month when we discuss August audiobook new releases.

- Lea Hensley

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47 Responses to Speaking of Audiobooks: Those Older Hard-to-Find Romances

  1. Diana says:

    I loved being a beta tester for Audible’s iPhone app. There was a lot more in it than I expected and it works beautifully. The option to buy from your phone is coming in a future update which will make it just about perfect.

  2. MarissaB says:

    Another great article, Lea. Thanks.

    And thanks for the iPhone app review, Diana. It’s good to know it works.

    After all that talk about the Richard Armitage’s narration of the abridged version of Sylvester, I purchased it from audible and enjoyed it also. However, there were some scenes that were just too short for me, and one in particular that didn’t make sense. At the end, after Phoebe talks to the Duchess, why does she suddenly end up in a room alone with Sylvester? It was a hiccup that I did not welcome since it took my attention away from the final scene between the H/H, where the HEA is finally achieved.

    Fortunately, I do have the unabridged version read by Judy Franklin, who also does an excellent job. Although I thoroughly enjoyed Armitage’s performance, I much prefer Franklin’s mainly because it is UNABRIDGED. You are shown how the relationship develops between Sylvester and Phoebe, you see him slowly falling for her, so when he is enraged, it is very believable. And when he castigates her in the inn at Dover, it is only the last of the many arguments/fights they have had on the way back to England. Even at the last scene, where I thought the abridged version would remain intact, I was disappointed. Why did they waste Armitage on an abridged version?

    I have a source that sells Heyer’s books that have been converted from cassettes to MP3. The recordings are not free and clear of static, but they are priced to please, so no problem there. However, the copies are made ignoring copyrights, so I hesitate to list it here.


    Angel’s Blood and Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh, read by Justine Eyre. Thanks to all of you who mentioned these books and recommended them. I was so taken by Angel’s Blood, that I downloaded and listened to Archangel’s Kiss ASAP. I think it is even better than the first book.

    Have any of you tried Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn, read by Marguerite Gavin? It is an entertaining and easy listen. Short, too. Gavin does a good job. I almost didn’t try it because of the inane name, but it was on sale so . . .

    You’re all aware of the $5.95 sale going on at audible now, right?

  3. Anne says:

    It’s not a case, but the Sandisk Sansa Clip and Clip+ MP3 players have a clip built directly on the back of the device itself. These players can be found new and refurbished rather inexpensively with the Clip+ allowing the option of expandable memory via microSD card.

  4. MaryK says:

    You realize you’re going to have competition for some of these old titles now, right? :) I didn’t know there were audio versions of any of Ruth Wind’s books.

    I have no sources other than generally combing the internet. I’ll keep an eye on my library’s discard table, though. They seem to be purging a lot lately.

    I don’t mind audio cassettes (I have a cassette player in my car so listening to them is not a problem), but I do worry about their lifespan; those tape reels can’t last forever. Years ago I managed to track down and purchase all of the Mary Stewart RS novels and at least some of the M.M. Kaye books. I really, really need to convert them to digital for safe keeping.

  5. Gamatst says:

    Just noticed 3 early Brockmann’s came out today at Audible. I didn’t recognize the narrators though. Forever Blue was one of them. Dare I hope for Prince Joe one day?

    I downloaded the Audible app last night but I haven’t had time to try it out yet. Since I love all the great features of the “Bookmark” app I already use I’m curious to see how Audible will measure up. I know I like the option of the wireless downloading though.

    I spent too much time earlier today trying to find a complete list of all the books Kate Fleming/Anna Fields had ever narrated. If there are more surprises like One Summer by Karen Robards I want to know!

    Anybody know where to find a complete list?? I never did find one and Google usually never fails me. She narrated over 250 books. If your a Phyllis Whitney fan you’ll be in heaven as she did a lot of hers.

    Now I know why I remember listening to Nora Robert’s Montana Sky so fondly though, Anna Fields narrated. I have Flash by JAK and noticed in my hunting around that it is narrated by Kate Fleming. Now I’m going to have to try it soon.

    I have my much loved Head Over Heel’s by Susan Andersen / narrated by Anna Fields on cassette but I sure would love for it to come out in MP3 simply for ease of use but mostly because I can hear a warble on one tape now. :(

    Glad you enjoyed Angel’s Blood and Archangels Kiss MarrissaB. I have that first Carrie Vaughn book and I’ve heard good things about Gavin. I want to give it a listen soon.

    Finished up Nora Roberts The Search on a road trip yesterday and I loved it, just as the commenter from the last column did.

    I then started Soulless and it’s fabulous so far, can’t wait to listen more.

    Lea, my iPods are bigger than the Nano but I’ve found the brand, Contour Design for iPods to be very good, with strong clips that last.

  6. kathy says:

    Lea; I LOVE this column!! There are soo many books I’d like to see on tape. Can you imagne “The Windflower” on tape??Also my library has an Interlibrary Loan system. If my library dosen’t have something I put in a request for an ILL and they search other libraries all over the country. Maybe your library can do something like that?
    MarissaB thank you for the tip about the sale at Audio. I didn’t know about that.

  7. Lea AAR says:

    MarissaB – Is your unabridged version of Sylvester one of those audio cassette jewels? Or is it through your MP3 source?
    I loved Angel’s Blood so much that I’m listening to it a second time before starting Archangel’s Kiss. After finishing it the first time, I found myself in one of those moods where nothing else seemed all that great comparatively. I’m almost done (enjoyed it as much the second time) and Archangel’s Kiss is in my Audible shopping cart.

    Anne – thanks for the info on the Sandisk. I’ve heard positive reviews before but had forgotten and certainly didn’t know about the clip.

    Mary K – ha! ha! Why do you think I had my daughter buy One Summer before this column went live? I saw only three available at that time and now I see only one left for $159 (the first two went in the $60-70 range).

    Gamatst – I have no idea where to obtain a full list of Fields/Fleming books but I will search with you. What a great list that would be. As I searched for this column, I discovered that a number of unabridged romances that I have owned in the past are nowhere to be found on the internet (at least by my own limited search skills). I’m not just talking not for sale – I’m talking not a record. I know I’m missing something somewhere.

    Thanks for the lead on Contour Designs. I’m headed over there now.

    kathy – thanks for the positive word! The Windflower on tape – what a dream! And who knows, with the terrible records kept on these past audiobooks, it could be out there.

  8. MaryK says:

    Oh, look, they’ve started recording the John Norman books!



  9. MaryK says:

    Lea, speaking of lists, is there any way we could set up a page/list of known romance audiobooks or ones that’d appeal to romance readers? Not a “this is where you can buy it” list, but one that says “this audiobook existed.”

    Your post prompted me to start digging around the internet for old romance audiobooks. I’ve found a couple I think others would be interested in. I don’t want to spam the comments though especially if you might have mentioned them at some time and I just don’t remember.

  10. Lea AAR says:

    MaryK – I think that is a great idea. I’ve also been thinking about some sort of listing of our audio reviews to date. But I guess that carries with it the possibility of a large technical project and that may restrict us. I’ll mention this to my editor.

    I don’t see a problem with you mentioning the titles you found – I want to know! I hope you know that you always have the option of contacting me through either my Meet Lea Hensley page, http://likesbooks.com/leaprofile.html or a direct message through Twitter (LeaAAR). Please feel free to do so.

  11. Lea AAR says:

    Gamatst alerted me to three new Suzanne Brockmann audiobooks over at Audible. They are three of her older titles, Forever Blue, A Man to Die For, and Not Without Risk. I saw that Forever Blue was granted DIK status here at AAR in 2000. I have only read one of Brockmann’s older offerings (Prince Joe). Does anyone have any thoughts on these books? Also, I know none of the narrators: Forever Blue – Ashley Adlon, A Man to Die For – Blair Windsor, and Not Without Risk – Tiffany Cole.

  12. Kaetrin says:

    I struggle to get any audiobooks from the Australian library system sadly :(

    I was browsing Audible today and they have a sale on until the 20th – some books are $5.95, some $8.95 and some $12.95. In the $8.95 section there is An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, Faking It by Jenny Crusie and Dark Fever (bk1) by Karen Marie Moning – I haven’t read/listened to the latter – anyone know if it’s any good?

  13. MarissaB says:

    Lea, my unabridged copy of Sylvester is from my MP3 source.

  14. MaryK says:

    Well, on Saturday, I spent way too much time rummaging through Amazon’s romance audiobooks. I threw anything interesting into my wish list to look at later, and when I have time, I’ll post a list. I don’t know that I made any major finds; they’re mostly just curiousities.

    I did make an impulse purchase which I totally blame on Lea. :D Barbara Samuel’s Night of Fire read by Jill Tanner on CD for around $15 with shipping.

  15. jojo says:

    Kaetrin – karen marie moning books are great! darkfever is followed by bloodfever, faefever, dreamfever and next jan (2011) we are waiting for shadowfever, all really good listens. But this is a story arcing over the 5 books… so each one cannot really be listened to as a standalone. the fact that darkfever is on the audible special makes it really cool so you can see if you like them. i have listened to the 4 of them a couple of times and plan to again as we get closer to january and shadowfever – yipee! :-) .

    she also has another GREAT series in audio, her highlander series, and the narrator (complete with scottish accents) is worth hearing! these can be listened to as standalones. the first one i listened to was kiss of the highlander and it’s right in the middle of the series. i have listened to it MANY times since.

  16. Helen D says:

    Lea I always look forward to your columns because in the past year I discovered audible.com. Listening to audiobooks on my iPod makes the daily 2 mile walk or the boring time on a treadmill so much more enjoyable.
    Right now I am listening to a fairly oldie – Catherine Anderson’s ‘Cherish’.
    And I just downloaded Elizabeth Hoyt’s ‘To Desire a Devil’

    There are about a dozen cassettes on my bookshelf and sadly they are all abridged…very boring. Somehow I felt cheated when listening to those useless abridged cassettes.

  17. katyco says:

    Once again I come away from “Speaking of Audiobooks” with a list of new titles and authors. Thanks to a great local library, I will be listening to One Summer on CD. I can also get Morning Glory, Midnight Hour, Ghost Moon and Someone to Watch Over Me on Cassette and In the Midnight Rain on CD.
    I have been wanting to listen to Game of Kings for 2 years. I can get Queen’s Play at the library and Disorderly Knights on Audible but I know I need to start with the first book and it drives me crazy that I can’t find it.
    My favorite book that I’ve only been able to find on cassette is Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews. Audible has it, but it’s abridged. I don’t like to listen to cassettes but I will, if it’s something I want to listen to bad enough.
    Thanks, Lea, for another great column. Looks like I’ll be busy for a while.

  18. Lea AAR says:

    Kaetrin – Darkfever is one of my listening challenges for 2010. I know I heard a number of positive comments to warrant its placement on that list. I’ll be listening to it soon but now that I’m into Angel’s Blood and Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh and Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books, I’m hesitant to introduce another paranormal series. I need to fully digest these first.

    MaryK – you have the fever – I’m not alone! Please let me know how you like Night of Fire. I think Jill Tanner is a narrator with a lot of talent and I really enjoy listening to her.

    jojo – How I love Moning’s Highlander series. I too started with Kiss of the Highlander and although I read it in print first, the audio version now rates as one of my favorite audiobooks. Phil Gigante and his Highlander males – wow!

    Helen D – I tried to sell my abridged cassette books on eBay a few years ago – no takers. But they’re still sitting on a shelf with my other audiobooks although that shelf gets smaller every year in comparison to those now in my Audible library. Will you let us know what you think of Cherish? I don’t think I’ve heard feedback on that one.

    katyco – okay, not a great thing to admit to here but I’m jealous! What a wonderful library system! And I assume you found an unabridged Morning Glory? Tell me that it does exist! Please share your thoughts on all of these as you listen.

  19. katyco says:

    Lea – Yes, I am very lucky. Morning Glory is 12 cassettes and 17 1/4 hours so I’m assuming it’s unabridged. I can’t wait to listen to it.

  20. LinnieGayl says:

    Do any of you know if any of Loretta Chase’s books (in particular Lord of Scoundrels, Lord Perfect, and Lord Impossible) are available in audio format? I’ve been looking, and can’t find anything.

  21. Claudia says:

    I have a similar question as LinnieGayl but for Connie Brockway. I am in the middle of “As You Desire” right now and I would love to own an unabridged audio copy. Are there any audio books out there for Connie Brockway?

  22. katyco says:

    LinnieGayl – Loretta Chase books are not available in audio. She says on her website that she will let us know when they are.

    Lisa Klepas’ Wallflower series will be released in audio beginning Aug. 1. They are narrated by Rosalyn Landor, who also narrates the Hathaway books. I can’t wait!

  23. Lea AAR says:

    Claudia – As You Desire is one book I’ve watched for in audio format. I have yet to find any Connie Brockway audiobooks other than the McClairen Isle trilogy. Now I’m hoping someone proves me wrong on that and tells us about other Brockway books in audio. But I don’t think As You Desire is available.

    AND – thanks to MaryK, I now have an unabridged copy of Morning Glory! She saw it on eBay and I jumped on it. I have far, far exceeded my audio book budget this past month with these oldie discoveries.

  24. Melissa says:

    FYI – Game of Kings is available on Audible. It’s dumbfounding and frustrating that Recorded Books seems to find it acceptable to offer only books 1 and 3 of 6.
    > It appears that Recorded Books is moving toward apps for their audiobooks rather than just selling the digital version. They’ve got about a hundred or so for sale over at iTunes (check under apps, not under audiobooks). I’ve only seen one review for the iTunes-products Recorded Books app, and it was mixed to say the least. I don’t currently own any hardware that cares whether “there’s an app for that” and so can’t give my own opinion. Maybe someone here has tried one and can provide some insight? Maybe a future column on this new frontier of audiobooks?

  25. katyco says:

    Melissa – How do you find Game of Kings on Audible. I did a search on both the title and author and still can only find Disorderly Knights.

  26. Melissa says:

    This is Lea AAR – I’m posting for Melissa – she is unable to post for some reason. Here is her latest message:

    I found The Game of Kings by doing a Search by Author at Audible. Disorderly Knights was the only Dunnett book out there for ages, and then Game of Kings popped up a few months back. I’ve been hoping for more, but no luck yet. I’m reluctant to purchase books 1 & 3 while the others are, frankly, out of my reach and/or price range.

    I hope this link work.

    The Game of Kings @ Audible:


  27. Lea AAR says:

    I followed the link for Game of Kings and saw this message:

    “We’re sorry. Due to publishing rights restrictions, we are not authorized to sell this item in the country where you live.”

    I wonder what country is allowed to sell it.

  28. katyco says:

    Thanks, Lea. I hate all these rules and restrictions that publishers put on the rights to some books. Since the CD’s are around $80.00, I guess I’ll keep waiting.

  29. Melissa says:

    I’ve tried some of the computer “housekeeping” suggested (thanks again!) by Lynn and Lea, so let’s see if this works and I can actually post now…

    I hadn’t tried to purchase The Game of Kings from Audible, so I didn’t know about the country restriction. Thinking maybe I had bookmarked the wrong Audible site, I Googled Audible.com and basically started over. The initial page has the “Start now for only $7.49/month” offer, and it defaults “USA” in the “Country of Residence” field. Nowhere on this screen do I see anything to indicate this is a UK or other international site (I’m in the US).

    Anyway, I clicked “Browse Audio” and selected “Author” from the drop-down. Entering “Dorothy Dunnett” brought up both The Game of Kings and The Disorderly Knights. It appears that the only two reviewers for Game of Kings are from Germany and South Africa, but I don’t see anything indicating USA residents cannot purchase it.

    My only guess is that I was at work when I sent those links to Lea and was not logged on as an Audible member. Perhaps Audible shows everything that’s generally available until someone actually joins, and then the available listings are filtered to only show what’s for sale in the member’s country of residence. I don’t remember seeing that in the “fine print”, but whatever. If that’s the case, Audible could be in for some serious griping if someone decided to go for the membership because Audible offers several books they want, only to find out afterward that they can’t get all of them.

    Crossing my fingers and clicking “Submit Comment”…

  30. Lea AAR says:

    Melissa – good to have you back!
    After reading your post, I played with Audible’s search function as you did. I can’t access The Game of Kings when I am signed in but I can when I’m acting as a visitor. I attempted to begin the purchase process as a test (no way was I buying for $40 at this point) but it more or less came to an abrupt end when I had to sign in. Who knows? It seems that we are experiencing what many of our fellow listeners from other countries experience. Because of publishing rights restrictions, they are often unable to buy from Audible some of the well known titles that we easily buy in the U.S.

    NEW Speaking of Audiobooks column up tomorrow!

  31. Gamatst says:

    Just a couple of comments before I go over and read the latest Speaking of Audiobooks Column ….

    If the project of “Audiobobooks that have been produced, even if there is now no record of them” comes about I have my own list with several titles that can be added. Like Jayne Castle’s Amaryllis, Orchid and Zinnia to name 3.

    On that note, if an Audiobook title has ever been sold on Amazon, new or used they have a record of it even if no longer available. You have to be creative in some of the searching, such as using the words audio – audiobook – cassette etc with the authors name or the narrators name.

    Back in the day the Brockmann books were auto buys for me. I remember Hero Under Cover and Prince Joe were my favorites though. I think I’ll be waiting for those before diving into her older audiobook releases.

    @Kaetrin Darkfever is definitely a good listen, the series is totally addictive! And to use Lea’s comment, a lot to “digest”, which is hard to do without the last book in the series. The fourth book ended in a major cliff hanger, so the “major frustration level” is something you have to consider before starting the series. :)

    On the plus side, I can’t wait to re-listen to the first four once I have the 5th book in my hands, they were soooo good!

  32. MaryK says:

    Finally, after a really busy week at work, here’s the list of interesting audiobooks I found.

    I ran a general search on Amazon (And now I can’t remember my search terms, isn’t that lovely! I think I searched for “audio” in the category “romance”.), sorted by publication date, and scrolled through the results. There were around 4500 entries and most of them were abridged or meant nothing to me. If you want to search for something particular, I suggest you search using the title or author and the word “audio.” Don’t rely on Amazon’s format designation.

    As I got into the older publication dates, most of them were abridged; but I was surprised by some of the older books that have been unabridged. Some of the older, unabridged books are on Audible (if they are, I didn’t include them here). It looks like they’re doing a decent job of acquiring existing backlist recordings.

    If these don’t have an unabridged specification, I had some reason to think that they were.

    *Night Magic by Karen Robards (Chivers Sound Library; Audio Cassette)
    *Night Magic by Karen Robards [Audio CD] Renee Maxwell (Narrator)
    *Dragonwyck by Anya Seton [Unabridged; Audio Cassette] Bonnie Hurren (Narrator)
    *The Scandalous Lady Wright by Marion Chesney [Unabridged; Audio Cassette] Jenny Quayle (Narrator)
    *The Aim of a Lady by Laura Matthews [Unabridged; Audio Cassette]
    *Her Man Of Affairs by Elizabeth Mansfield (Classic Books on Cassettes Collection; UNABRIDGED) Flo Gibson (Narrator)
    *Precious Bane by Meryl Friedman (Classic Books on Cassettes Collection; UNABRIDGED)
    *The Champion by Elizabeth Chadwick [Unabridged; Audio Cassette] Gerri Halligan (Narrator)
    *The Shadow of the Lynx by Victoria Holt (Chivers Sound Library) [Unabridged; Audio Cassette] Lin Sagovsky (Narrator)
    *The Shadow Of The Lynx by Victoria Holt [Books on Tape, Inc.; Unabridged edition; Audio Cassette]
    *White Magnolia by Margaret Way [Unabridged; Audio Cassette]
    *Letter to My Love by Elizabeth Cadell [Unabridged; Audio Cassette] Elizabeth Henry (Reader)
    *Yet Will I Love Her by Gladys Fullbrook [Unabridged; Audio Cassette] Barbara Rosenblat (Contributor) – never heard of this one, but hey, it’s Barbara Rosenblat
    *Honey for Tea by Elizabeth Cadell [Unabridged; Audio Cassette]
    *She Goes to War by Edith Pargeter [Audio Cassette] Carol Boyd (Narrator)
    *Hawk O’Toole’s Hostage by Sandra Brown [Unabridged; Audio Cassette] Richard Ferrone (Narrator)
    *Winter in July by Essie Summers (Story Sound) [Audio Cassette] Judith Whale (Narrator)
    *The Past Tense of Love by Elizabeth Cadell [Audio Cassette] Angela Down (Contributor)
    *I and My True Love by Helen MacInnes [Audio Cassette]
    *Temple of the Moon by Sara Craven [Unabridged; Audio Cassette] Alison Skilbeck (Reader)
    *Stormswift by Madeleine Brent [Audio Cassette]
    *Out of the Rain by Elizabeth Cadell [Unabridged; Audio Cassette]

    for the Anna Fields fans
    *The Legend Makers by Catherine Lanigan [Unabridged; Audio Cassette]
    *Tender Malice: A Little Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing… by Catherine Lanigan [Unabridged; Audio Cassette] Anna Fields (Narrator)

  33. Diane says:

    I just did some checking at Recordedbooks.com. They do have all 6 of the Lymond books available on their Playaway device. It’s an mp3 player with just one book loaded on it and it has the book cover, comes with ear buds and a storage case and it looks like a mini book. That’s how I got Diana Gabaldon’s Fiery Cross to listen to. :) The second book Queens Play is $64.75 and the other five are $69.75.

  34. melinda says:

    Diane, I’m curious about the playaway device – does it just come with one title, so if you want a whole series you end up with several devices? are they recyclable in any way at all – like, send them back to recordedbooks to re-fill, or anything?

    and I wanted to mention that somewhere in the compuserve forum that Gabaldon manages, she did talk about why her unabridged recordings were not all available yet – it had to do with the original contract with the abridged recordings,and restrictions to how/where/when the unabridged versions could be sold. Each book has a wait of something like 10 years before the contract expires and the restrictions lift. She apparently is no longer using a contract with an abridged recording part that restricts the distribution of the unabridged recording.

  35. Lea AAR says:

    MaryK – thanks for the great list and advice on searching. They really preferred abridged in the early days of romance audios, didn’t they?

    Melinda – I know you asked Diane but since I’m posting, I thought I’d refer you to an earlier Speaking of Audiobooks columns wherein I described the Playaway player. http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=2834

    I keep hoping to discover that those hard to find Gabaldon books are finally available at an affordable price and I am constantly on the lookout but ten years?! That’s depressing news. A quick search (and I can’t guarantee it’s accurate) shows the unabridged version of The Fiery Cross was first released in cassette tape format in 2002 – still two years away.

  36. Diane says:

    Melinda, yes it comes with only one book loaded. I understand it can be sent back and another title loaded but I don’t know how that works. As long as this is the only way I can listen to the unabridged version of The Fiery Cross I won’t be trying to find out anytime soon. I have all the other books either on cd or on my iPod.

  37. melinda says:

    thanks – this quote from Wikipedia re: Outlander audiobooks:
    Because of a non-compete clause in the abridged-audio contract, the unabridged versions cannot be sold in retail outlets (including bookstores and audible.com) until the license of the corresponding abridged book has expired.

    Per Gabaldon on Compuserve, the abridged license expires after 10 years (from what exact date, I’m not sure – the contract date?) – a clause she is no longer using in contracts. The on sale date for The Fiery Cross abridged, per Random House Audio, was Nov 1, 2001, we have about 16 months til it’s released. ABOSAA/abridged on sale date – Aug 9, 2005. Five more years.

    I think the concept of abridged books might have been a trend, or “fashion” years ago since it was so inconvenient to have scads of cassettes to listen to. Now that we have MP3 players everywhere, I think the trend is unabridged. The only abridged that worked for me was Open Season/Linda Howard. I would have preferred unabridged, but after I read the book, I felt the abridger (?) did a great job of getting the meat of the story into the abridged version.

    and thanks also for the info about the Playaway. An odd concept but so tempting for the Lymond Chronicles.

  38. MaryK says:

    Abridged is one thing, but Nora Roberts’ Rising Tides on 2 cassettes? o_0 A book that length can’t be anything but butchered if it fits on 2 cassettes.

  39. Anne Stuart says:

    RE the wonderful secret mp3 source that ignores copyright issues. As a writer I don’t have any problem with bootlegged stuff if there’s no legal way to get it. I’d be more than happy to pay good money for full length versions of Georgette Heyer’s classics, like VENETIA or THE TALISMAN RING, but if I can’t get things legally I’ll rob banks in order to get the books I’m craving.
    I even had my niece sign me up for Audible in England so I could get A CONVENIENT MARRIAGE and THE TALISMAN RING, probably breaking several laws.
    Bwaaahaha. I’m evil.

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  41. jojo says:

    just wanted to let you know that i borrowed the two gabaldons (the fiery cross and a breath of snow and ashes) from the public library (of all places). our library system (in sacramento) has both the “overdrive” brand downloadable system and the old fashioned :-) cds that you can borrow. so i put my name on the waitlist and borrowed them! i felt so cool! and by the way, just a bit of trivia, recorded books says that “a breath of snow ashes” is the looonnnggeesstt audio they have to date. it was 48 cd’s (and it was great)…

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  44. Brittany B says:

    Hey Lea, I just wanted to compliment you on this column. It’s very well done, and still so relevant. I’ve seen books for $75-$125. One book on cassette. It’s nearly impossible to find the cd of the hard to finds.

    I’m happy to see you discussing books I too would love to have- esp. Suddenly You by Kleypas.

    It’s also nice to see the growing list of books that have made it to audio since you wrote this.

    Great column, as always.

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