September 4, 2012

Look Who's Talking

by Gary Fearon, Creative Director

What started out as a gift to the blind has become an enduring way to enjoy books.  When the Library of Congress first began distributing books for the blind in the 1930s, it wasn't long before the sighted also came to appreciate the appeal of the recorded word on vinyl. 

The Bible and other classics were the early leaders in sales.  By the 1980s, the cassette made motivational tapes especially popular.  Today more than ever, book lovers on the go are finding that audiobooks are a great traveling companion.  On a long drive, a compelling book is just the cure for highway hypnosis. 

Even as we see eBooks leap forward in the marketplace, audiobooks continue to claim a growing piece of the pie that used to be dominated by the printed medium. In both 2011 and 2012, sales of audiobooks have increased more than 30% over the previous year.

Some of Southern Writers' favorite authors know the value of the audiobook, and are making their novels available to an eager new audience.  Sandra Balzo, our current cover story, is about to release her second audiobook.  Tamera Alexander, Robert Whitlow, and Andy Andrews are other front pagers whose works are readily available.  These days, you can find virtually any bestseller on CD.

Clearly, books and audio will remain close friends for some time.  Which is why we want you to know about Take Five, one of our new online venues for authors.  At Take Five, simply click a button to listen to a five-minute excerpt from a variety of new Southern books, often read by the author.  As I write this, Pamela King Cable, Kimberly Rae, and Philip Levin's latest can be previewed in Take Five.

Not every sample you'll hear in Take Five is available as an audiobook, at least not yet.  But an aural appetizer is a quick and fun way to get a taste of these great Southern writers. If you like what you hear, the book itself is just another click away.

Give a listen to Take Five now, and be sure to come back again periodically to see who's waiting to talk to you. And if you're a subscriber with a book to promote, you're invited to be on Take Five.  Details on how to get a good recording, along with an easy means to upload your audio to us, are right there on the website.

Whether you're an author who likes to read, or a reader who likes to listen, we hope you'll take part in Take Five.  A few minutes there will be a sound investment.

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