Audiobooks are the new albums

 
 

Some people are just better listeners. Audiobooks have been giving lit fans another way of getting into an author’s work for years, but they still haven’t quite reached the popularity of an actual book. Much like the music video did for the pop song, writers and their publishing team are looking for effective ways to boost the popularity of their audio versions by adding in some bonuses, so that maybe even those who do like to read might want to buy the audiobook anyway.

As someone who certainly needs more sales promotion, out writer Augusten Burroughs (Running With Scissors) had four of his favorite musicians record tracks based on his new memoir, A Wolf at the Table.

He had rock legend Patti Smith, indie band Sea Wolf, Tegan Quin and piano pop ingénue Ingrid Michaelson record “response tracks” to the book about his father. Burroughs’ website claims the audio book itself is “a true work of art, created through inspiration, passion, and the uniting of two creative mediums.” The songs are streaming on his website, but you probably have to hear it all to get the idea.

Another best-seller, Miranda July’s No One Belongs Here More Than You, came out on audio last week.

On her blog, July referred to it as an album, and it probably is — her experience as a performance artist certainly influences her reading style, which is probably half of the reason people buy her stuff to begin with. It’s impossible to not read the book without thinking of her reading it aloud. Or maybe that’s just me, having watched her film, Me and You and Everyone We Know too many times.

I’ve never purchased an audiobook before, but I have to admit, these add-ons might influence me otherwise. July failed to bring a book tour through Chicago with her short stories, so why not bring her readings to me in my own home for whenever I want them? Just like episodes of South of Nowhere, I can download audio books even on iTunes or on Audible.com.

It might be a new trend for the publishing industry — are you buying it?

 
 

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