Speaking of Audiobooks: Untrained Narrators? I’m Not Interested

There’s a new trend sweeping the audiobook industry and it’s the frequent use of untrained narrators. Narrators who are more likely to take away from the audiobook experience rather than add to it. It’s a trend that I hope will simply spend itself and go away, but one which I’m afraid is here to stay. I can only assume that somewhere along the line, the decision to use untrained narrators (with lower pay) translates into the ability to produce more audiobooks. But in the process, an invisible price is paid as the listener’s trust slowly erodes. How many listeners will continue to buy audiobooks (or even use the library) if the experience is less than enjoyable? It’s not only a waste of the listener’s money but their time as well.

Fortunately, there are still a number of audiobook publishers who choose to use well-trained narrators for the majority of their releases. As we often see expressed here at Speaking of Audiobooks, listeners develop a trust relationship with narrators, so much so, that listeners are known to follow narrators as well as authors from one audiobook to the next. Continue reading

Interview with RWA’s 2010 Librarian of the Year

For several years now, Romance Writers of America has selected a librarian of the year. According to their Web site, The RWA Librarian of the Year is awarded to a librarian who demonstrates outstanding support of romance authors and the romance genre. The 2010 RWA Librarian of the year was Jennifer Lohmann. Jennifer is a librarian in my area—I wrote about her Bookclub here recently—and a friend of a friend of mine. I emailed her, introduced myself, and asked if I could interview her for AAR. She and I met for coffee, sat down, and had an excellent chat about the books she loves, romance, and romance readers.

What appeals to you about romance novels?

What appeals to me about romance novels is the same thing that appeals to me generally about all books – the chance to lose yourself completely in a story. I can lose myself in any good book, but it seems to happen more with a good romance novel. I get wrapped up in the lives of the characters and whatever else is pressing on me for that day goes away. I also like the happy endings. I would like to believe that no matter what is in our past, a happy ending with someone to love is possible for our future.

Is there a typical romance reader you see in your library?

I don’t think so. The women I generally help find books are older and retired, but I know younger women check out romances because I see them; they just don’t think to ask me for help or they don’t need my help. I do have one male patron that I know of who reads romances regularly (he likes westerns and is happy his wife got him back into reading) and I work with a couple of teens who come in for their romance fix over holidays and vacations.

Do you have a favorite or preferred genre within romance? If so, why?

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The Hardback Dilemma

hardback bookThere are very few books out there I will buy in hardback. Hardbacks have several severe disadvantages, mainly:

  • They are big, and don’t fit into my handbag.
  • They are heavy, and I don’t like to carry them in my handbag or have my arms tire when I hold them for a longer time.
  • They take up more space on my shelves than they need to.
  • They are expensive.

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