This is Lee blogging for Selected Audiobooks, and I have been tardy in my entries lately … sorry for the long break. I’ve been busy … listening 😉

I’ve got the audio version of Hattie Big Sky in my CD player now and have come to the part where she learns from her Uncle Hoyt that the Arlington, Iowa newspaper will pay her $15 for her monthly submissions about life on her Montana claim. That reminded me of my editorial responsibilities! Nobody’s paying me, of course … but still, I agreed to slip in a word or two on a regular basis.

I really appreciated your responses to my last entry [insert red face here] on April 24 about the production errors and how we evaluate audiobooks that have them. We’ll be having a discussion at Annual about the pronunciation errors, so I’ll update you when we have made a decision.

Speaking of Hattie Big Sky … there’s an error in the book (that also showed up the audiobook) where Hattie’s uncle — who willed her his Montana claim — is called by two different last names (Brooks and Wright). I asked a friend on last year’s Newbery Committee about it, but she ain’t saying nuthin’ [no surprise there]. I have to say, I’m glad we have a more open process for our list.

One of the treats for me at our discussions at Midwinter 2007 was having a couple of the audiobook publishers sit in. They seem truly interested in what we have to say — which means that maybe they are taking our thoughts on what makes a good audiobook back to the studio to make even better audiobooks.

There are so many more publishers of audiobooks than there were when I began listening to them — only about five years ago! I remember when our shelves were dominated by the red covers from Recorded Books and there were just a handful of narrators that you heard over and over again. Listening Library (Random House/Books on Tape) was the only other publisher on our shelves in bulk just a few years ago … but I don’t remember if those titles had a distinctive cover like the Recorded Books books.

Anyway, now there’s so many more … and most of them are doing books for children and teens (hooray!). In the past year and a half, I’ve gotten packages from the folks at Full Cast Audio, from Brilliance Audio (who snagged John Green’s two titles), from Scholastic Audio [whose website is somewhat impenetrable], from Bolinda Audio (or Bolinder as the Aussie narrators pronounce it), from BBC Audiobooks, and — just the other day, I got Pirate Jack from Listen and Live Audio. And they’re all creating great spoken performances: audiobooks with music, and with new — and younger — readers. And other stuff too … we just got Secrets of a Civil War Submarine which comes with an “enhanced CD featuring photos, maps, and illustrations from the book.”

Of course, when the “reading” experience becomes more than an aural one, is that something we consider when evaluating the book? Per usual, the guidelines are one step behind the innovators. Something else to discuss at Annual, I guess!

So, here’s an invitation to all readers of the YALSA blog to stop by our meeting at Annual. It’s from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 24. We’re meeting in the Hart Room of the JW Marriott. There’s no discussion of specific titles on our agenda, but we’re a chatty group, so who know what might come up!

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