April 18, 2018

Listen up and get in SYNC!

Raise your hand if you’ve heard someone say that listening to an audiobook is not reading.

Parents and librarians -- repeat after me: Audiobooks.Are.NOT.Cheating! In fact, numerous studies show that most of what we learn is through listening and that, to your brain, listening to a book is nearly the same as reading it, except you’ll be able to impress your friends by knowing how to properly pronounce words such as Göteborg (city in Sweden) and schlittschuhlaufen (ice skating).   

NoveList librarians are HUGE audiobook fans and are always on the lookout for opportunities to introduce more people to the pleasures of listening. That is why we are so excited to spread the word about a summer reading program that gives participants free audiobooks!  On April 26th, NoveList partner AudioFile Magazine will launch the 9th annual SYNC Audiobooks for Teens program. This is a FREE 13-week-long audiobook giveaway program for teens ages 13 and up. Each week, 2 audiobook downloads are made available to every registered listener. The books can be downloaded for a week and are yours to keep. Teens, librarians, book club leaders, and educators can all sign up for the program at www.audiobooksync.com. That’s also the spot for email or text alerts when the new titles are released each week. Over the course of the summer, 26 titles will be given away with the goal of introducing a wide range of diverse stories and characters on audio to teens.  Featured authors for 2018 include Kwame Alexander, Jazz Jennings, and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. For a full list of titles, visit the SYNC website.

If you’re new to audiobooks and would like to learn more before SYNC begins, check out the audiobook resources in NoveList. We have information on over 76,000 audiobook titles in NoveList Plus including professional reviews, sound samples, and AudioFile sound reviews. After doing a search, click the “Audiobooks” tab arch to see the list of audiobooks returned. We also have audiobook Recommended Reads Lists for all reading levels (hint: this can be especially useful when preparing for those *fun* family road trips). If you’re interested, but want to browse around, visit our Audiobooks page by clicking the “Browse Audiobooks” link on the bottom of the NoveList homepage or “Audiobooks” from the “Browse By” menu at the top. This page features a carousel of AudioFile Earphones Award winning titles, new and forthcoming titles, links for browsing, and for all the Recommended Reads lists. 

In addition to our print appeal language which includes categories for Storyline, Pace, Tone, Writing style, Character, and Illustration, NoveList librarians have also developed an appeal language specifically for audiobooks called “Audio Characteristics”. These terms describe the narrator’s performance and voice quality such as Distinctly voiced, Emotionally connected, Comedic, Gravelly, Resonant, and many others. See how we’ve applied our audio characteristics to some of the SYNC titles being given away this summer:

Come August, Come Freedom by Gigi Amateau, narrated by J.D. Jackson.

  • Resonant: These pleasing voices wash over the listener in rich and sonorous tones.
  • Gravelly: These narrators have a husky, raspy, and throaty quality to their voices.
  • Character accents: Incorporating accents into their performances, these narrators bring both characters and settings to life with their vocal versatility.
  • Well-characterized: More than by simply differentiating their voices, these narrators inhabit the characters in a way that is authentic and convincing, bringing one or more personalities to life for the listener.

The Devil’s Highway written and narrated by Luis Alberto Urrea.

  • Read by the author: In these performances, authors double as narrators, and listeners get the chance to hear the text as voiced by the author.
  • Sincere: With their heartfelt (although sometimes less-than-polished) performances, narrators of these nonfiction audiobooks imbue their readings with genuine conviction.
  • Crisp: These narrators read in clear tones, with precise enunciation.
  • Immersive: Narration that captures the sensation of a time and place and immerses the listener in the story's setting.

Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki, narrated by Rebecca Lowman.

  • Distinctly voiced: These narrators provide a multiplicity of voices for their characters, sometimes through use of accents, and sometimes through use of pitch, intonation, and tone.  In all cases, however, the end result is that the listener can easily identify who is speaking by listening, without having to rely on textual clues for this information.
  • Youthful: These voices often impart an air of innocence and buoyancy to the stories they read.
  • Gentle: These soothing voices are easy on the ear, and may serve to relax listeners.  Sometimes this narrative style can make difficult subject matter easier to process.

Everland by Wendy Spinale, narrated by Fiona Hardingham and Steve West.

  • Multiple narrators: These performances include more than one narrator, often reading sections or chapters told from one character’s perspective.
  • Character accents: Incorporating accents into their performances, these narrators bring both characters and settings to life with their vocal versatility.
  • Engrossing: These narrators skillfully draw listeners into the story, providing a memorable listening experience.
  • Youthful: These voices often impart an air of innocence and buoyancy to the stories they read.

Want more tips on finding great audiobooks in NoveList? Download the search strategy.


Renee Young is the Technical Metadata Manager at NoveList. 





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