Your Audiobook Questions Answered

Thanks to everyone who participated in our joint webcast with School Library Journal in September. You can view the archived version through September 2009.

Quite a few great questions came up during the question and answer session at the end of the presentation—and we ran out of time to answer them all! Here are a few of the more important things that came up in discussion.

  • Nonfiction – We have a great selection of unabridged nonfiction titles on audio. Biographies, science books, history books – a little bit of everything. See lists in our latest catalog or use the Advanced Search feature at We’re always adding new titles.
  • Downloadable Recorded Books – We’re working on a great solution for this right now, and it will be debuting in the next few months – so stay posted! (Follow us on twitter for exclusive updates.) We’ve also got a few more fun tricks up our sleeve for making Recorded Books available to you via quick online delivery. Do you have any ideas or requests about downloadable audio? Let us know! In the meantime, try downloading some free samples from the “Free Lesson Guides” category here at the blog.
  • Circulation – Our presenters had some great tips on circulation that we’ll soon be adding to our Teacher Resources section at They recommend buying inexpensive players and tagging all equipment as well as the audiobooks. Multi-packs of earbuds are popular for students who don’t have their own. Our presenters let students keep earbuds to reuse them for their next audiobook checkout. Playaways can be tracked in much the same way. Some prefer to shelve audio alongside the print books, while others designate a special audio section—but either way, be sure to let students know audio versions are available!
  • Beginning Readers on Audio – We got some questions about how picture books and beginning readers work on audio. Our unabridged recordings mirror very much what it would be like if you were reading out loud to students. The narrators read with natural intonation and pace, letting students follow along and enjoy the story while learning pronunciation and fluency. And since the narrator is doing the reading, you can walk around the classroom to monitor students and give individual attention to those who need it!
  • Budgeting – Where should you budget for your audiobooks? Really, it’s up to you and your district – but because audiobooks help in so many areas, there are tons of places to sneak audiobooks into the budget. Do you use audiobooks with ESL students? Special needs students? Do you have a large A/V budget that you need to use? Can audiobooks be part of the materials budget, or are they part of the budget for regular books? Work audiobooks into your budget where appropriate, and keep information from our RB Resources on hand so you can explain why you budgeted how you did. Remember that you’ll be getting years of use from your Recorded Books audiobooks. We have a great replacement policy for schools and provide packaging that will hold up to abuse from eager listeners.
  • Have any more questions? Let us know by leaving a comment here or asking me on twitter.
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